Choosing a toothbrush might seem like a no-brainer, but there’s a good chance that you’re paying too much for features you don’t really need. If you want to find the perfect toothbrush, there are several things to consider, and the softness or hardness of the bristles is one of the most important. Here’s how to choose.
Options & Availability
Toothbrush bristles come in a few different firmness options, ranging from extra soft (XS) to hard (H). Most of the time, children’s toothbrushes are made with extra soft bristles while adults’ toothbrushes are made with soft, medium, or hard bristles (though extra soft adult brushes do exist). Most of the major brands offer a wide range, and most adults tend to lean toward the medium-bristled brushes. However, when comparing the medium hardness between brands, the actual firmness can vary quite a bit. Some are still soft and pliable, while others are much firmer and could be sold as hard bristles.
The Argument for Soft Bristles
Though many people believe that a harder bristle provides a better clean, this is not at all the case. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that harder bristles can cause trauma to the gums, which increases the risk for conditions like gingivitis and even lesions on the gums. Of course, there are other considerations, as well; things like brushing too hard, brushing for too long, brushing too frequently, or even using an incorrect brushing motion can all cause oral issues, as well. The best way to avoid trauma associated with brushing, though, is to purchase soft-bristled toothbrushes.
Do Soft Bristles Provide a Good Clean?
People tend to believe that the harder the bristle, the better the clean – but evidence suggests otherwise. Researchers at ranciscan University in Brazil looked at the differences in soft and medium toothbrush bristles in terms of plaque removal and gum abrasion in adolescents. They found that medium toothbrushes did, in fact, remove slightly more plaque than their softer counterparts – especially in the molar area – but they did so at the expense of far more trauma to the gums than with soft toothbrushes.
Getting the Best (and Safest) Clean
Finding the perfect balance between a clean smile and healthy gums is all about choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste, using the correct techniques for brushing, and following up with dental floss. When choosing a toothbrush, the best overall option for both children and adults is a soft toothbrush (or extra soft for children with tender gums). WooBamboo’s sustainably-made bamboo toothbrushes feature soft bristles that can be recycled in most facilities, and they provide an excellent clean that protects both your smile and your planet. WooBamboo also offers fluoride-free toothpaste and silk dental floss that is sustainably sourced and packaged, so you can feel good about every purchase you make.
The color of your toothbrush and the fancy-shaped bristles aren’t the determining factors when it comes to good oral health. Keeping your mouth happy is all about removing plaque and bacteria with a soft, gentle, and planet-friendly toothbrush, the right toothpaste, and an excellent flossing habit.