What type of toothbrush should I use?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

With so many toothbrushes on the market it can be difficult to pick the best one. In this video, dentist and Dr. Oz Show guest Jonathan B. Levine explains the best electric and standard options.

Whether you brush your teeth manually or use a power-operated toothbrush, the most important thing about brushing your teeth is that you do it! You should be brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day along with flossing daily. If you have trouble with dexterity, you may find that using a power-operated toothpaste works better for your mouth. 
Carol Jahn
The type of toothbrush you use depends on both your oral health status and your preferences. Powered, including sonic toothbrushes have been shown to be safe and in general, remove more plaque than a manual brush. So, if plaque removal is problem, a powered brush is a good option. One of the most important things about brushing is length of time. Conventional wisdom shows that 2 minutes is the right amount of time for most people to do a good job at plaque removal. The advantage of sonic toothbrushes is that most have a 2 minute timer along with a 30 second interval alert to change quadrants.
Before you can decide on the correct toothbrush, you must understand what this device is intended to do. Because nature designed the tooth to be self-cleansing, the only areas that need your help with the toothbrush are the areas between the gum tissue and the front and back of the tooth (the sides must be cleaned with floss). From a disease prevention point of view, the toothbrush head should be small, clear, and have soft bristles. Because more than 1/2 of the bristles become sharp and jagged after only 2 weeks of use, they can actually cause harm. This is also the time of maximum germ contamination. Therefore, to answer your question, you should choose a clear toothbrush with a small head and soft, clear bristles. You should also store the toothbrush on a window ledge (maximum light) outside the bathroom (the most contaminated room).
Use either a manual or an electric toothbrush. Both can clean your teeth effectively if used correctly. If you want a regular manual toothbrush, buy one that's got an American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Many dentists recommend a brush with a soft bristle, which is less likely to irritate your gums. Make sure your toothbrush is comfortable for you. Replace toothbrushes every three or four months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, you can usually replace the brush head itself without having to buy a new toothbrush.
Jonathan B. Levine, DMD

When it comes to the toothbrush you choose, paying attention to a few details will get you the best protection for your teeth. In this video, dentist and prosthodontist Jonathan Levine, DMD, describes what to look for.

Continue Learning about Healthy Oral Hygiene

Healthy Oral Hygiene

Healthy Oral Hygiene

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily constitute the basics of good oral hygiene. Keeping other parts of your mouth, such as your gums, healthy can benefit your overall health by preventing the spread of germs and dis...

ease. At-home care should be supplemented by professional care. When plaque or tartar develops, a dentist or oral hygienist will use special tools to scrape (scale) the teeth clean without damage. Flouride treatment can help keep teeth cavity-free. Learn more about healthy oral hygiene with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.