We all know that brushing is an integral part of good oral hygiene. Unfortunately, many people are using the wrong toothbrush and are ruining their teeth, gums, and enamel because of their bad choice. Using a soft bristle toothbrush is often recommended by dentists and dental hygienists as it is incredibly gentle on the sensitive surface of the teeth while still being effective enough to remove plaque, dirt and other debris that can become lodged between the teeth.
The History of the Toothbrush
Toothbrushes have been around for centuries, with the first toothbrush being made of bone for its handle and hard boar bristle hair as the brush. Thankfully, these relatively odd-looking toothbrushes have become a relic in modern day life. The first nylon toothbrush was introduced in 1938 and was called Doctor West's Miracle Toothbrush because of how flexible and different it was for those who wanted a gentler yet cleaner smile. Since then, toothbrushes have changed and morphed to accommodate the people using them. From a soft bristle toothbrush to power brushes and much more, it's easy to see that it's not so much now what toothbrush bristles are made of, but how well they clean.
Soft vs Hard Bristle Toothbrush
Almost all toothbrush bristles are made using nylon, which is an incredibly effective material when added to brushes of all kinds. However, the density of the nylon makes it either soft or hard. A less dense nylon creates a softer bristle brush while denser nylon fibers create a harder bristled toothbrush. While some people swear by using a medium to hard bristle toothbrushes, dentists almost always recommend to all of their patients to stay away from hard bristle toothbrushes and to stick with softer bristles.
Why Soft Bristle Toothbrushes are Better
The reason a soft bristle toothbrush is recommended is that it is more gentle on the gums and teeth. The enamel on the tooth's surface is incredibly sensitive and can be worn down over time. When you use a hard bristle brush, you're literally scrubbing away at the surface of the teeth, which can scratch and wear them down. Soft bristle brushes are designed for all types of teeth, dental appliances, and ages. Whether you're purchasing a toothbrush for a toddler or an adult, the softer the bristles, the better the brush.
Different Types of Toothbrush Bristles
Toothbrush bristles materials come in all different types. When toothbrushes were first introduced centuries ago, they were made using boar's hair, which helped to clean the entire tooth's surface. While not the most hygienic option, the boar's hair worked quite well and was incredibly popular for many years. Believe it or not, there is quite a comeback for boar's hair bristles, though the most popular is still nylon. Nylon provides the brush with enough flexibility to clean the teeth without the worry that you're using an animal's hair.
Pros and Cons
There are some cases when a harder toothbrush is necessary to get a good clean. While the soft bristle toothbrush is most common and is most recommended, it might not be good enough for people who have a lot of denture work or those who are dealing with braces and other orthodontic appliances. However, hard bristle brushes can often scrape and pull at the delicate gums, which can result in a receding gum line.
What are Bristles Made Of?
The vast majority of toothbrushes on the market use nylon bristles. The nylon is an incredibly flexible and gentle material that effectively cleans the enamel and gets in between the teeth to deliver a superior and effortless clean. However, there is a recent movement among those who want to take a more natural stance to go back to using boar's hair as the bristles of choice. Boar's hair is seen as a more natural material than nylon and many people swear by it. The specific material you choose to use is going to depend on what you like and how much you want to pay for a new toothbrush.
How to Choose a Toothbrush
Choosing a soft bristle toothbrush can be difficult because of a large number of options available to you. Many dentists recommend choosing a power toothbrush, which can still come with bristles in soft, medium or hard. If you'd rather not have to worry about a toothbrush with a battery, you can choose from normal flat brushes that are often the cheapest and most popular variety to toothbrushes that have grooves and designs in them that promise to clean teeth better and get between the teeth more efficiently.
Maintaining, Cleaning and Changing Your Toothbrush
Now that you've chosen a soft bristle toothbrush and will be using it regularly, it's important to keep it in good shape and to replace it every so often. Dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush once every three months. After three months, the bristles on your toothbrush will begin to wear down and will not clean as effectively as they should.
Before the three months is up and you need a new brush, it's crucial that you keep the toothbrush cleaned and in good shape. Try to protect it when it's not in use by using a toothbrush cover. You should also keep the toothbrush away from dirty areas in the bathroom, like near the toilet or by a fishbowl. It's a good idea to clean your toothbrush once a week using either alcohol, mouthwash, peroxide or a UV sanitation station.
Conclusion: Having a soft bristle brush and using it regularly guarantees that you'll have a bright, beautiful and clean smile. The softer bristles on your brush are much better for your teeth and gums than harder bristles. If you continually use hard bristle toothbrushes, you may find that you begin to wear down your gums, causing a receding gum line. Other people who use hard brushes all the time notice that their enamel looks scratched and pitted.
It is crucial that you invest in a good-quality soft brush and use it regularly. Unless your dentist instructs you otherwise, most dental professionals will recommend a soft bristle brush as opposed to other options available to you on the market. Whether you're choosing a power brush or a regular toothbrush that is relatively inexpensive, you should still be able to pick and choose the bristle density to get the type of clean that you need and want for yourself.