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Toothbrush knowhow: choosing a toothbrush

July 28th, 2020

When toothbrushes with bristles first arrived on the market in the 1930’s there were very few choices. Today, there are an overwhelming amount of choices including manual or electric. Whether you choose a manual throw away type or an electric toothbrush there are certain characteristics you should look for.


Adults – The best toothbrush head is one that allows you easy access to all tooth surfaces. The general rule of thumb for adults is to use a toothbrush with a head that is a half-inch wide and one-inch tall. Likewise, consider the size of the toothbrush handle. It should fit comfortably in your hand.

Kids – There is an even greater variety of toothbrushes available for children. From multi-coloured ones, to ones featuring animated characters to those that play music to indicate the child has brushed long enough. Despite the myriad of choices, the same rules apply when choosing a brush for a child – size matters. Purchase a child’s size brush so the head will fit comfortably in the child’s mouth and the handle will fit comfortably in the child’s hand. 


When purchasing a manual toothbrush or a new head for an electric toothbrush you will find there are three bristle varieties:  soft, medium or hard. Whether purchasing a toothbrush for an adult or a child, choose one with soft bristles. They tend to be the most comfortable and safest choice no matter your age.

Expert Recommendation

Your dentist or dental hygienist are experts in oral health care. You can ask either of them for a recommendation about the best toothbrush to purchase for you.

But perhaps you didn’t ask for a recommendation and you are now in the store looking at a wall full of toothbrushes of all shapes, sizes and colours in a variety of packages. Many of them including claims such as, “proven to remove more plaque than any other toothbrush.” Or, “New and improved rotating oscillation speed.”

But, how do you know those marketing claims are true? One way is to look for the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal of Approval. This seal is kind of like an expert recommendation in and of itself. It testifies to the fact that the claims made by the manufacturer have been reviewed and are supported by scientific evidence. 

If you clean your teeth regularly using proper brushing technique, you will reduce plaque build-up and keep your gums healthy with either a manual or powered toothbrush. Ultimately the toothbrush you choose is one you feel comfortable using and one you find leaves your teeth feeling clean.

All that’s left to do is choose the colour! Now that is an entirely personal preference. Happy brushing!

Posted in Dental Care