Our patients often ask what type of toothbrush is better: soft bristles or hard bristles?
The earliest forms of toothbrushes were small twigs from bushes or trees. We would use to them to rub against our teeth to remove excess build up and food trapped on the surface or in-between. Eventually, we developed less abrasive solutions in the form of what we now know as the modern day toothbrush.
We recommend soft bristles, as they are more gentle on your gums and the enamel on your teeth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the consensus recommendation is to brush your teeth for two minutes two times per day with a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
Whether you choose a manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush, it’s important to understand what happens to your gums and teeth when brushing. We will share more about that in a moment.
Soft, Medium, and Hard Toothbrushes
Again as a general rule, we recommend choosing a toothbrush with soft bristles, instead of medium or hard bristles. If your gums and teeth are sensitive or have signs of enamel erosion, we may suggest a toothbrush with extra-soft bristles.
The Dangers of Brushing with Hard Bristle Toothbrush
Can firm toothbrushes harm your teeth? The answer is yes. Brushing your teeth improperly can impact your gums and teeth negatively. Some of the issues include:
- Bleeding Gums
- Damage Root Surface
- Gum Recession
- Harmful to Teeth Enamel
- Lesions on Gums
Supporting this, we found that a study published in 2015 by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, where researchers studied what happens to the gums when people brush their teeth. They found evidence that “traumatic tooth brushing” can in fact cause gum recession and damage to the gums. Factors that helped define what they term “traumatic tooth brushing” include how a person brushes, the amount of force used, frequency of brushing, and the type of toothbrush bristles.
In summary, choose a toothbrush with soft bristles or ask Dr. Takher about what you should choose.