You can’t overestimate the importance of good oral hygiene – not only for dental health, but for your overall well-being. In fact, gum disease is a major risk factor for the development of serious health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

With so many models and offers out there choosing the right toothbrush can be a bit of a challenge.

In this short article we will try to shed some light on how to choose the best toothbrush for our particular dental health needs. Since the average Canadian spends nearly 1,000 hours brushing their teeth over a lifetime, it’s important to find a toothbrush that feels comfortable and works well.

What to Look for in a Toothbrush

The right toothbrush can help chance some bad oral hygiene habits and turn them into good oral hygiene habits. Without daily brushing and flossing, your teeth and gums may become especially vulnerable to tooth decay, dental plaque, dental tartar, even gum disease. Don’t let that happen – use these guidelines to help you pick a toothbrush. The more you like your toothbrush, the more likely you are to use it.

One thing to remember: softer is better.

It might seem like a toothbrush with stiff bristles is the right choice. Lots of household brushes have rigid bristles, making cleaning more efficient. But quite the opposite is true when it comes to picking a toothbrush. The reason why is really simple: Softer bristles are easier on the gums. When we brush, we want to clean our teeth, not make our gums bleed. A toothbrush with stiff bristles is more likely to cause bleeding gums. However, don’t pick a toothbrush that’s labeled “soft” unless your dentist recommends it. Choose a “medium” one instead.

Go nylon, not natural.

There’s a whole range of natural dental products available that are environmentally friendly. Just keep in mind that there has been little research done on their effectiveness. Until there’s more information about natural toothbrushes, it’s probably best to stick to a toothbrush with medium-soft, nylon bristles.

Get a heads up.

When it comes to a toothbrush head, one might think that bigger is better. That’s not always the case. For a small mouth, a toothbrush with a big head might make it difficult to angle  to brush hard-to-reach areas. Go for something that complements the size of your mouth.

Choose the handle with care.

The handles of toothbrushes are usually colorful, sometimes translucent or even glittery.  What you should really look for is a toothbrush handle that feels comfortable and is easy to maneuver. Also look for a non-slip surface, especially if you have arthritis.

Don’t forget: After daily use, your toothbrush can lose its effectiveness and even become a breeding ground for germs, fungus and bacteria. Who wants that? To get the most out of your toothbrush, replace it frequently, at least every 1-3 months. And if you recently had a cold or infection, you may have transferred germs to your toothbrush so be sure to use a new one.