The toothbrush has been around for nearly 5,000 years. “Chew sticks,” bone, wood, ivory and hog bristles all make up the far-reaching history of this instrument of oral health. The nylon bristled toothbrush that we now use was invented in 1938. Today, battery powered toothbrushes are available in addition to manual toothbrushes.
Both manual and powered toothbrushes can effectively and thoroughly clean teeth. People who have difficulty using a manual toothbrush may find a powered toothbrush easier or more comfortable to use. The size and shape of the brush should fit your mouth comfortably, allowing you to reach all areas easily. Your dentist may offer suggestions about which type is suitable for your needs.
No matter what type of toothbrush you choose, the American Dental Association recommends that you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth with floss or an interdental cleaner daily.
It’s also important to keep your toothbrush clean. Rinse your toothbrush with tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store the brush in an upright position if possible and allow it to air dry until using it again. Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment, such as a closed container, is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms than the open air.
Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Bristles that become frayed and worn with use and will be less effective at cleaning teeth. Look for toothbrushes that display the ADA Seal of Acceptance.