Soft, medium or hard: Which toothbrush is best?

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Which type of toothbrush is best – soft, medium, or hard? In this article, we are answering this question once and for all. Find out which bristle strength is right for you and how to choose the best toothbrush.


Which is the best toothbrush?


Soft toothbrush

Toothbrushes with soft bristles are ideal for most people. They are stiff enough to dislodge debris stuck between teeth but aren’t so hard that they will damage the enamel (when used correctly, of course). Soft brushes can also be used to clean the gum line without discomfort and bleeding. If you don’t have any pre-existing oral conditions or have not been instructed to use a particular type of toothbrush, then a soft toothbrush is your best bet. Try and buy one that has the Canadian Dental Association’s ‘Validated’ seal.


Medium toothbrush

Medium toothbrushes are a popular choice and they aren’t much different from a soft toothbrush either. People buy them because of the perception that they are better at cleaning teeth. Used incorrectly, a medium brush can wear away enamel. Another drawback is that it cannot be used to clean the gum line because it is too abrasive and can cause damage to the soft gum tissue.


Hard toothbrush

Hard toothbrushes are not recommended for anyone who has not been specifically directed by their dentist to use them. The tough bristles can weaken and wear away enamel. They can also damage the soft gum tissue and cause the gum line to recede. Brush slowly and gently if you are using a hard brush.


Extra soft and ultra-soft

Extra soft and ultra-soft toothbrushes are also known as ‘periodontal toothbrushes’ and ‘sulcus toothbrushes’. They are advised for people who are suffering from receding gums, bleeding gums, gingivitis, or periodontitis. Bristles are extremely soft to reduce the discomfort of brushing close to the gum line. People generally don’t use ultra-soft toothbrushes unless they have been advised by a dentist.

If you are thinking of getting a gentler toothbrush because of pain in your mouth, speak to a dentist first. The pain is likely due to an underlying condition.


Other tips for choosing the right toothbrush

Color, design, and price are poor indicators of the effectiveness of a toothbrush. This is what you should look for in a brush:

  • Soft bristles
  • Narrow head (for easier access to all surfaces of the teeth)
  • Canadian Dental Association ‘Validated’ seal

A travel cap is a great feature too. It keeps the brush clean during transport and protects the bristles from bending.


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Good oral health begins with regular brushing and flossing. Make sure you brush at least twice a day and use a mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene regime. Good habits from a young age will prevent problems as you get older. Talk to a Dawson Dental professional about maintaining your oral health.