Posts Tagged ‘maintaining toothbrushes’

Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Monday, September 28, 2015


Frequently, I am asked what is the best toothbrush and toothpaste. As with many things in life, the answer is not so simple. But there are a few guidelines.

Definitely, I would never recommend any hard-bristled or medium-bristled toothbrush, only soft-bristled toothbrushes for human teeth. Hamster cages and boots can be cleaned with hard or medium bristled toothbrushes, but not teeth. Also, the bristles should be rounded on the end, not sharp or ragged. Gums can be lacerated easily with a sharp bristled toothbrush.

SOFT: Soft nylon will prevent teeth and gums from being scratched. Tooth- brushes with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance (ADA Seal) should be your only reasonable choice for toothbrushes (and tooth- paste) for that matter.

RIGHT SIZE: The size and shape of the brush should also be user appropriate. Children need smaller brush heads and handles. Your brush should feel comfortable in your hand. Smaller brush heads in adults is usually better. Ask your dentist or hygienist if you have a question about your brush or brushing.

MAINTAIN: Replace your worn or frayed brush at least every 3-4 months. Frayed bristles can damage teeth and gums and harbor bacteria.

ELECTRIC: And, if you need (children and handicapped patients) electric toothbrushes work as well as manual brushes. So…if you’ve followed the above guidelines, the best brush is the one you like to use at least twice daily.

The average person brushes for about 37 seconds. However, to do a proper job it takes two to three minutes to sufficiently remove plaque when brushing. A three minute egg timer is a good reminder for children’s brushing. Aim the bristles at a 45o angle to the long axis of the teeth and with gentle circular motions, brush all exposed surfaces.

DEVELOP A BRUSHING PATTERN: Brush in a pattern that covers all the surfaces of all teeth each time you brush. For example, brush from right to left on the outside of upper teeth, then left to right inside surface of upper teeth, then outside right to left lower teeth and then inside left to right lower teeth and then lower biting surfaces left to right and upper biting surface right to left.

TOOTHPASTE: Tooth paste not only polishes teeth, it also helps remove plaque (bacteria and its waste products) from teeth. Daily removal of plaque from teeth helps keep teeth and gums healthy and breath fresh.

AMERICAN MADE: This is one place where the American Dental Association (ADA) seal is particularly important. Never use toothpaste from China.

WHITENING TOOTHPASTES: Teeth whitening toothpastes don’t really work to whiten teeth. They may rid you mouth of stains. However, they often cause sensitivity.

DESENSITIZING TOOTH PASTES: These toothpastes are valuable in blocking irritants from getting to nerve ending. Potassium nitrate (salt peter) is the most effective desensitizing agent in desensitizing toothpastes (potassium nitrate is also used to cure and maintain red color in corned beef).

FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE: Fluoride is the most significant chemical element which can be easily added to tooth paste to improve dental health. Fluoride remineralizes and strengthens teeth as well as desensitized teeth. Children, especially through teen years, and senior citizens can benefit from fluoride in toothpastes and other forms of topical fluoride, especially in areas (there are still a few) without the benefit of community water fluoridation.

Keep smiling!
Dr. James G. Hood, D.D.S, P.S.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

James G. Hood, D.D.S., P.S.
2510 N. Pines Rd., Suite 206
Spokane Valley, WA 99206  USA
Phone: (509) 928-9100  |  Fax: (509) 928-0414

Online Store: