Like mouthwash, the toothbrush dates back to a time of utter filth when chewing on a twig passed as dental hygiene.  Fast forward to the present and we have dozens of non-stick options.  From motorized to manual, soft to hard bristles, even little massaging rubber nubs for your gums, toothbrushes come in every possible variety.  With such a plethora of options to choose from, which is the best? We’ve got you covered; here’s the least boring guide to toothbrushes A-Z.

Soft or hard?  Similar to tacos, toothbrush bristles fall between these two ends of the spectrum.  Unlike tacos, evidence suggests that very few of us should be using the hard versions.  Firm bristles can wear away at the enamel on your teeth and can also do damage to your gums, causing your gum line to recede.  If you feel like this cat below while you brush your teeth, perhaps going to a softer bristle is for you.  This is where we give the obligatory message: you should check with your dentist on which is the best toothbrush for you, based on your oral hygiene.

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Manual or electric?  This is an age old question that crosses all boundaries, from breast pumps to wheelchairs.  Humans are presented with the option of battery or man powered for decades.  And like razors or shopping carts, the pros and cons of each are essentially the same for toothbrushes. Electric offers you less work while being slightly more effective but are bulkier and more expensive.  Manual can be as effective with the right amount of persistence, not to mention easier to travel with and replaceable.  The choice is yours.

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Size, seal and shed.  These are three important words to remember when it comes to your toothbrush.  Size matters when it comes to your toothbrush head and that size is wholly dependent on your mouth.  According to Web MD for most adults one inch high and half an inch wide is an optimal size to maneuver around your mouth, hitting all of those tough to reach places.  That number is likely based on the average adult mouth, which of course isn’t the same for everybody.  Talk to your dentist blah blah blah.

Seal.  You can never go wrong with American Dental Association Seal of Approval that can be found on a wide range of products.  The gold standard of dentist approval, any product with this seal has been tested and evaluated for consumer safety and effectiveness at the highest levels.

Shed.  Every 3 to 4 months your toothbrush should be changed.  The more vigorously you brush, the faster your bristles are likely to wear.  Once the bristles start looking like the end of a burlap sack, it’s time toss that bad boy and begin anew.  Worn bristles greatly affect the efficacy of brushing, failing to remove plaque and other gingivitis-causing bacteria.

Toothbrushes are vital tools in the fight for healthy white teeth and fresh breath.  Make sure you’re using yours effectively and be happy we aren’t chewing on sticks anymore.