Types of Toothbrushes and Best Care Practices

Toothbrushes are toothbrushes, right? Actually, there are several different types of toothbrushes to know and each requires its own proper care. Find out best practices in caring for your toothbrush.

Types of Toothbrushes

  • Electric – Electric toothbrushes vibrate to gently clean plaque and tartar from teeth. Many dentists consider them more effective at cleaning teeth and gums, and they’re also easier for people with mobility issues or arthritis to use. Since you’ll only need to replace the head of an electric toothbrush, and not the body, these can be environmentally friendly.
  • Bamboo – Bamboo toothbrushes are becoming more popular as people reconsider the effects of plastic on environmental damage, but the material isn’t new. Chinese were manufacturing bamboo toothbrushes with boar’s brush bristles centuries ago. If you’re looking for a toothbrush that will biodegrade over time, this is the right choice for you.
  • Plastic – Plastic is one of the most common types of toothbrushes, but it also has a big environmental impact. Plastic does not break down, so just think of all the toothbrushes in landfills! Plastic toothbrushes are cheap and convenient–you’ll find one at any drugstore–but it might not be the best choice for you.

You’ll also find toothbrushes in different sizes: adults, children, babies, and even pets have their own toothbrushes, designed to accommodate the size and shape of every mouth.

People with sensitive teeth may find brushing manually is painful. There are manual toothbrushes that come with softer bristles, which may help those with sensitive teeth brush without experiencing discomfort. Some electric toothbrushes feature pressure sensors, so you can tell when you’re scrubbing too hard.

Best Care of Your Toothbrush

No matter what material you select, you must take proper care of your toothbrush. Something most people forget is to wash their hands before brushing. Otherwise, the germs on your hand transfer to the toothbrush over time. Wash with soap and water, then reach for the brush.

You already know how to brush your teeth–and if you’re not sure, ask our Tampa dentist for a refresher during your next dental visit–but you may not have given much thought to what to do after you’re finished. Always rinse off the handle and bristles on your toothbrush to remove any leftover toothpaste or saliva. Place the toothbrush upright in a toothbrush holder and let the bristles air dry. Some people like to use toothbrush covers; however, we do not recommend closing these unless you are 100 percent sure the toothbrush head is dry. Sealing in a wet toothbrush just encourages bacteria to build up.

Toothbrushes should be replaced every four months or sooner, if the bristles become too soft. The same recommendation applies for the heads of electric toothbrushes. As a best practice, avoid brushing too hard as this can wear out bristles and scratch the gums.

If you have any questions about toothbrush care, or choosing the right toothbrush for you our Tampa dentist would be happy to make recommendations.