New York Dental Astoria - Blog

Tips, tricks and suggestions about oral health.

The Toothbrush

- A game-changer for your oral health

There's no doubt about it ; you'll find at least one toothbrush in every American home. This handy, dandy device has been around for ages and it's something that we just cannot do without. That is; IF you don't want to have a mouthful of cavities and, quite possibly, lose most of your teeth before you're forty or even sooner.

And, let's not even get started on the harmful effects of gingivitis , tartar and other periodontal issues and diseases. So, get ready to work out that arm and brush away all of the plaque that has been building up on your teeth.

Yes, there's a very good reason why dentists advise their patients to brush their teeth twice a day, especially after eating. And we're not just talking about a quick hit of forty or fifty seconds when brushing your teeth over the bathroom sink. In order to really take care of those molars, you should spend a full two minutes polishing them up.

Make sure that you reach every corner of your mouth with your toothbrush. Because, the teeth that you inadvertently miss could become tomorrow's problem. Ouch ! That hurts ! Who needs that ?

The toothbrush with nylon bristles that we usually take for granted has been around only since 1938 when it was created by Dupont.

Previously, the head of your average toothbrush was composed of animal bristles. Yes, you heard that right. Napoleon Bonaparte used a horsehair toothbrush and the very first rather primitive toothbrush with bristles dates all the way back to China during the Tang dynasty ( 600 to 907 AD ). In case you were wondering, those bristles were composed of hog hair.

Thankfully, we've come a long way. Can you imagine placing a toothbrush made with pig bristles in your mouth ? We'll go with nylon bristles any time.

In the good old USA, the first toothbrush patent was granted to H.W. Wadsworth in 1857. But mass production of toothbrushes did not start until decades later.

In 2022 we have a lot more options than they did back in the day; that's for sure. But, when you go shopping for your next toothbrush, either at the local pharmacy, big box store or online, there are a few very important points that dentists urge you to keep in mind.

First of all, when it comes to choosing a toothbrush SIZE MATTERS.

Dental professionals recommend that the optimal toothbrush head should be approximately one inch in length and a half-inch wide, thereby allowing easy access to all of your teeth's surfaces. Your toothbrush should also have a long enough handle so that it's easy to hold.

Okay, so you won't find Napoleon's preferred choice when deciding on what kind of bristles you want. However, you WILL be able to decide between soft, medium and hard nylon bristles.

The odds are that, if you're like most people, you will opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush. It's more comfortable and safe. If you brush with too much force while using a medium or hard bristled toothbrush you can actually do considerable damage to your gums as well as the enamel on your teeth.

Here's a pro tip : When selecting a toothbrush be certain that the bristles have ROUNDED tips.

Hey, we're all on some kind of a budget and even smart and savvy wealthy citizens don't just throw their money around carelessly. Factoring COST is something that will cross one's mind when shopping for a toothbrush, particularly if you are considering purchasing an electric toothbrush, which can run you a couple of hundred dollars.

Please, though, do yourself a favour : don't pass up a superior quality toothbrush just to save money. Get the very best you can afford. Compromise elsewhere as the TV Ad says. The oral health of your family is too important. And, spending a few more bucks now in preventive care can save a TON of money in dental bills down the road. 

When deciding on a toothbrush for your child, do try and bring the little one along with you. As a parent you most definitely have the final word. It is important to keep in mind, though, that, the more a child LIKES his or her toothbrush, the easier time you'll have getting them to brush.

Now more than ever before, there's a fantastic array of toothbrushes that are designed to pique a child's imagination. They come in a variety of colors and are often decorated with the likeness of popular cartoon characters.

Whether you're shopping for yourself, your partner in life or a child, always look for the ADA ( American Dental Association ) seal of approval on the toothbrushes packaging.

On average, dentists tell their patients that it's best to replace your toothbrush every two to three months. At that point the bristles are most likely starting to become worn out ,therefore compromising the effectiveness of the toothbrush.

In the dental community, there's a bit of a debate going on as to which option is more effective at keeping your pearly whites clean ; a manual or an electric toothbrush.

Electric toothbrushes are battery-powered. They use oscillating or sonic vibrating movements to clean your teeth. These nifty, super-convenient devices come with a variety of cleaning modes, pressure sensors and timers. The timer option will make sure that you don't put the toothbrush away until the two minutes are up.

Electric toothbrushes allow you to personalize your oral care. There's even an option for people who wear braces.

Many dentists feel that an electric toothbrush is tougher on removing plaque and food debris as well as being gentler on gums than the manual variety.

But, there is really no clear-cut answer. It all depends on what YOU are more comfortable with.

Whether or not you opt for an old-school toothbrush or a high-tech option, you STILL have to know the proper brushing technique. Wait, you say; I've been doing this all my life. How hard can it be ! Well, the fact of the matter is we can ALL stand to brush up ( get it ? ) on our toothbrushing technique.

First of all, try not to scrub your teeth too hard. The pressure can damage the enamel as well as your gums. Nice and easy. The soft touch is best. No need to grip the handle of the toothbrush like you were holding on for dear life.

Use a gentle motion, allowing the bristles to do most of the work for you.

At the start of your two minute brushing place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Then, move the brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes. Be sure to pay attention to the outer surfaces, inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

In order to clean the inside surface of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up and down strokes. That's it. You're done !

It's no exaggeration to state that, each and every year, nearly a billion worn-out toothbrushes find their way into our landfills. That's NOT good. Too much plastic polluting our earth, by far ! The great news is,though, that there IS something we can all do about this travesty.

It's time to change-up your oral care routine by going out and purchasing an ECO-FRIENDLY toothbrush. Be good to our planet while also taking care of your teeth with a toothbrush whose handles are made out of BAMBOO.

Bamboo is naturally biodegradable so you are making a game-changing decision for Mother Earth when you switch from a brush with a plastic handle to a more sustainable one.

You might be surprised to know that there are many brands out there that make zero or lower-waste oral care products including floss, toothpaste, toothbrush cases and holders.

One such company, Brush With Bamboo has both adult and children's toothbrushes that come with USDA certified biobased bristles that are made of 100% castor bean oil. These bristles can easily be recycled. The handles are composed of Moso bamboo which is organic and wild-grown.

Every component of Brush With Bamboo's products, from bristles and handle to the packaging is plant-based. Their product line has been verified BPA-free, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and is non-toxic. Now THAT's what you should be looking for in an oral care product !

When it's time to toss them, your toothbrushes' bamboo handles can be composted. Here's a totally useful fact : because bamboo has naturally anti-fungal properties, the handle of the toothbrush is resistant to damage from water. So, feel free to brush away !

Now, these bamboo toothbrushes will cost a little more than the standard product you probably already have in your bathroom. But, they are worth it.

You can also lower your carbon footprint when it comes to oral hygiene by looking into Lucky Teeth's vegan, bamboo floss which is sold in a refillable glass jar.

The possibilities are endless. Just keep an open mind and do your research. No matter which toothbrush or other oral care product you end up going with, always make brushing a part of your daily routine. Whether you are traveling on business, at home, at the office or on vacation, your teeth are something you DON'T want to neglect.

The stakes are simply too high. 

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