Which is better, a hard or soft toothbrush?

Try to buy a toothbrush and you are faced with a variety of choices: different sizes, shapes, hardness of bristles, etc. Which one should you choose? What is important and what is not? Does it really matter at all what type of brush you use? Below you will find a brief discussion on these questions. This may help you reach a better decision.

Does the type of brush matter?

Your toothbrush serves an important function. It is the basic step towards good dental health. Experts advise that you should brush your teeth twice a day, at least, to keep dental plaque at bay. Obviously, the esthetics of the brush is not important (except maybe for children). Likewise, the size of the handle is important only to the extent that it should give you a convenient grip. However, the bristles on the head are important.

Hard vs soft bristles

The bristles on the head of the toothbrush are the part which are meant to do the cleaning. During brushing the bristles are held at right angles to the surfaces of the teeth and moved in a to-and-fro motion. During this process, the bristles rub against the teeth. It is expected that this motion will remove plaque and stimulate your gums.

On the one hand, it is proposed that hard bristles tend to remove the plaque more effectively. On the other, there is the risk of hard bristles damaging the gums and causing them to recede. If a toothbrush with hard bristles is used too vigorously, this could wear away the outer enamel layer of the tooth. Thus, a hard toothbrush can result in what specialists call toothbrush trauma, and cause more damage than good.

The general finding among dental practitioners is that there is a greater incidence of non-carious cervical lesions (NCCLs) among those who use a hard toothbrush. Non-carious cervical lesions, in plain words, means minor damage to the enamel which is not serious enough to be considered a cavity. While a definite finding has not been established, it is possible that if proper toothbrush movement is not adopted, your gums may also be damaged. Thus, there is greater tendency to recommend using a soft brush rather than a hard brush.

What about hardened plaque and deep stains?

Will a soft brush be able to remove hardened plaque? It is natural to expect that a hard-bristled brush will be more effective against hardened plaque than a soft one. But on the other hand, hardened plaque is a less frequent situation if proper dental hygiene habits are followed. If we detect hardened plaque during an exam, we will remove it during your cleaning.

Bottom line: use a soft-bristled toothbrush

Dental experts agree that a soft-bristled brush is preferable to a hard or even a medium brush. Finding a soft-bristled tooth brush is quite easy! Simply read the packaging of the toothbrush and you can easily find which type of bristles it has.