How To Pick Your Next Great Toothbrush | Northeastern Braces

Figuring out how to pick your next great toothbrush isn’t rocket science. Or is it? We researched what goes into a good toothbrush and why some brands are better than others. We reviewed manual vs. electric, the size of the bristles, shape of the head, angle of the handle, and other factors. In the toothbrush industry, the race is on to make the most ergonomic toothbrush.

What is “Ergonomic?”

Ergonomics is an applied science that works to create tools and equipment that enhance life, comfort, and reduce injury.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition is a bit more refined:


Although original ergonomic concepts had a purpose revolving around workplace safety, they have become more commonplace in household applications. You will find the concepts applied to seating, keyboards, toothbrushes, lawn rakes, and even ink pens.

When you look at a toothbrush that says it has an “ergonomic design” it simply means that it incorporates properties that make it easier to use and increases its efficiency.

How the Shape and Size of the Head Make a Difference

In reality, it doesn’t matter that much and is more a personal preference. Whether you prefer a diamond, oval, square, round, or the old rectangle, what matters more is how you use the toothbrush. Split, angled, cross-bristled — there seem to be a million choices out there. The one constant the entire industry agrees on is that you should use a soft-bristled brush.

There is evidence that a smaller round or diamond-shaped head can be more effective in removing food particles and plaque from hard-to-reach molars. The shaped edges fit more comfortably between the teeth and inside of the mouth which makes brushing more comfortable.

Our recommendation here is to find a shape and size that matches your mouth. Using a Sasquatch-sized brush in a Thumbelina-sized mouth won’t achieve optimum results. So, choose your Goldilocks toothbrush head — you know, the one that is “just right.” The important thing is to select one that you will use regularly.

You’ve Seen One Handle, You’ve Seen Them All

Handles also are a matter of preference. There is a wide variety from straight to ergonomically contoured with custom no-slip grips. Rigid handles. Flexible handles. Angled handles. Cushioned. There are even environmentally-friendly bamboo handles! There are four industry-wide classifications for handles on manual toothbrushes:

  • Straight
  • Contra-angle
  • Non-slip grip
  • Flexible

The take-away here is to select the handle that best suits your needs. Find a style that is comfortable to use and allows you to reach the inside of your mouth thoroughly. If you have arthritis or other physical limitations, select something that allows you to work within your abilities to brush all the surfaces of your teeth.

Manual vs. Electric and Battery Powered

Electric toothbrushes, which include battery-operated and sonic toothbrushes, are more effective at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes. That said, they don’t work any better if you don’t use them. So, our recommendation in this area is to select a toothbrush that you will use.

How to Pick Your Next Great Toothbrush

Ignore the hype and all the commercials you see. When you shop, select a toothbrush for the features that you like that includes the ADA Seal. Whether a toothbrush costs $2.00 or $200.00 if you don’t use it is just a dust collector. So select a brush that you will use.

Most manufacturers recommend changing out your toothbrush or toothbrush head once every three months. However, there are instances where you should change earlier, such as after an illness or if you drop it on the floor.

If you have additional questions about how to pick your next great toothbrush, please contact us at Northeastern Braces. We can help you sort through the millions of choices you will see in the dental section of any retailer.

Don’t forget to check our Orthodontic Blog for more information.

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