“Which is better, a manual toothbrush or a power toothbrush?” is a common question asked by patients when discussing good oral hygiene. Nixa family dentist Dr. McLAuchlin understands that selecting a toothbrush can be challenging with all the products on the market today and would like to provide some insight into choosing and caring for your toothbrush.
To answer the question above, neither toothbrush is necessarily better than the other! Personal preference is the biggest factor in determining which brush you should choose, as the type of bristles and brushing technique is infinitely more important than the type of toothbrush. However, if you are a child who is disinterested in brushing or a patient with limited hand mobility, a power toothbrush may be better suited for you than a manual toothbrush, as the handle is larger and allows for more control during brushing.
For patients with metal braces, a power toothbrush may be recommended for a more thorough cleaning of both teeth and metal wires and brackets. In all cases, it is important to use soft bristles unless directed otherwise by Dr. McLauchlin- this reduces irritation of the gums and damage to tooth enamel.
You have heard this time and time again, but in order to maintain optimal oral health, it is critical that you brush twice daily with fluoride-containing toothpaste. In order to make sure your toothpaste and toothbrush are as effective as possible, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal on the packaging.
In addition to proper brushing technique, it is also important to care for your toothbrush diligently. Here are some tips for keeping your toothbrush clean:
- Avoid sharing toothbrushes to prevent the spread of illness and oral bacteria
- Store brush in an upright position and in isolation from other toothbrushes to avoid cross-contamination with family members
- Store toothbrush in a dry place. Moisture provides a favorable environment for bacterial growth
- Rinse your toothbrush after brushing
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months; as the bristles become frayed, the toothbrush becomes less effective in cleaning your mouth.
If you have any additional questions about toothbrushes, oral hygiene or if you would like to know whether or not a power toothbrush is best for you, please talk to Dr. McLauchlin during your next preventive care dental visit.