Humans have been using toothbrushes to remove food from teeth for thousands of years. Early toothbrushes were sticks with frayed ends, & later brushes were made from bone, wood or ivory & animal hairs. We have come a long way since then, & toothbrushes today are very effective at removing food & plaque & keeping your teeth & gums clean to prevent tooth decay.
Why Brush Your Teeth?
Brushing your teeth removes food & plaque, which is bacteria that eats away at your teeth & can build up & become tartar, a hardened form of plaque. Without daily brushing, plaque & tartar can build up, & the acids that they produce can erode your tooth enamel & irritate your gums. Brushing your teeth can help prevent cavities & gum disease, so be sure to brush every day! The ADA recommends brushing a minimum of twice a day (usually morning & before bed).
Types of Toothbrushes
There are two types of toothbrushes: manual & powered. Both types are equally effective at cleaning your teeth, but powered toothbrushes can be fun for children & easy to use for people who have trouble using manual toothbrushes. Use whichever type is easiest for you.
Bristles on toothbrushes vary in toughness, from soft to hard, & most dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles can actually damage your enamel, irritate your gums & can contribute to tooth sensitivity!
No matter which type of toothbrush you use, you should brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste & replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or whenever the bristles seem frayed. Many toothbrushes even have wear indicators in the bristles that will lose color or change color when the toothbrush needs to be replaced.
For recommendations on how to choose a toothbrush that is best for your smile, ask your dentist or dental hygienist. And remember, brushing at home is not enough to ensure your dental health. Be sure to visit the dentist at least every six months for your professional cleaning! We may even throw in a free toothbrush.