Soft, Medium, or Hard Toothbrush Bristles?

Author: nmaartens Posted: February 2nd, 2022 Category:

Does the firmness of the bristles matter? Yes! Here’s your guide to picking the right toothbrush. 

You brush your teeth twice a day and floss each night. However, there may be an integral part of that oral care routine you may be overlooking — your toothbrush!

The toothbrush you choose is just as important as regularly brushing and flossing. For those who use non-electric toothbrushes, you can pick from three varieties — soft, medium, and hard bristles. So which one is right for you and your dental health? A dental professional at Espire Dental can help determine the best one that fits your needs, but here’s a basic overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Soft, Medium or Hard Bristles: How to Decide

Stores carry numerous toothbrushes at different price points, sizes, and strengths. Before you grab the least expensive one, check the bristle type: Is it soft, medium, or hard? Some people don’t realize that the bristle firmness matters, but at the end of the day, you’re using your brush everyday, so you’ll want one that’s comfortable and does the job of cleaning your teeth and freshening your breath. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each manual bristle type.

Soft Bristles. We sometimes press harder than we should when brushing our teeth, which can lead to gum damage and loss of precious tooth enamel. Therefore, the recommended type for the majority of adults and children is a soft-bristled toothbrush. Soft bristles are gentle on the gums and tooth enamel as they sweep away bacteria, plaque, and decay-causing food particles. For extra cleaning power, pick a toothbrush with angled bristles to get into the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. A brush with multiple layers of bristles is also a good choice. But keep in mind the size of the toothbrush head. If it’s too big for your mouth, it won’t get to the teeth in the back of your mouth.

Medium Bristles. As the next best option, medium bristles are a bit more firm than soft bristles, but they are not considered hard. However, be careful how much pressure you exert when you brush using a medium-bristled toothbrush; it could irritate your gums if you brush too harshly.

Hard Bristles. Hard-bristled toothbrushes are not usually recommended and may be difficult to find in stores. The extra-firm bristles combined with the pressure of brushing could be harmful to your gums and strip away tooth enamel. Nevertheless, for some people, hard bristles may work best. For example, people with severely stained teeth could benefit from brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush. To clean dentures, a hard toothbrush is your best option. However, outside of those circumstances, a hard-bristled toothbrush could do more harm than good.

Whichever type of toothbrush you choose, be sure to replace it every three to four months. After repeated uses, the bristles lose their firmness and are less able to clean away bacteria. As a result, leftover bacteria and food particles in the mouth cause tooth decay and bad breath. 

Additionally, a toothbrush with worn-down bristles is likely harboring germs, so it’s important to keep your brush clean. Run the toothbrush under water to clear away bacteria, germs, or food debris. Let it air dry between uses. If you’ve had a head cold, replace your toothbrush sooner than three to four months to prevent a re-infection.

Your toothbrush is a vital tool in your battle against tooth decay. But so is brushing and flossing daily and visiting your dentist twice yearly for a professional cleaning. The right toothbrush ensures those visits are pleasant and don’t require any follow-ups for fillings or other dental procedures.

Time for a Dental Checkup

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Norman, Oklahoma location today! Our highly trained dentists can help you pick out the right toothbrush and teach you proper cleaning techniques. Don’t live near our Norman, Oklahoma office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Norman, OK
550 24th Avenue S.W.
Norman, OK 73069