Toothbrushes: Good or Gimmick?


Toothbrushes: Good or Gimmick?

Ever notice how the aisle of the drug store is lined with toothbrushes of all shapes, sizes, colours, and claims?

How are we supposed to choose between electric and manual, and the 5 different types, 10 different modes, and 20 different bristle designs? Who should we believe when every brand says its technology is better than the rest? With new “features” added to toothbrushes every year, it’s only getting harder to select the right brush. We’ve taken the time to separate what’s good from what’s a gimmick with this guide.


Brush Features

The Good:

  • Soft, round-tip nylon bristles.
  • Replacement heads.
  • Small head.

The Gimmicks:

  • Medium / hard / eco bristles
  • 3 month warning indicators
  • Multi layer / angle design
  • “German bristles”
  • Ergonomic handle design


The most important thing to look for are soft or ultra-soft, round-tipped bristles, which offer the most versatility and flexibility when working around your teeth and gums. Never use medium or hard bristles which can damage teeth and gumsSimilarly, “natural” or “eco-friendly” bristles are often, sadly, too harsh on teeth.

Once you make sure you’re using soft bristles, it’s critical to replace your brush or brush head (for electric toothbrushes) every 3 months. Worn bristles hurt gums and can’t clean the tiny spaces between teeth and gums effectively.

An even or flat design of the brush head will spread the pressure evenly across gums and avoid wearing out the bristles unevenly. When looking at brush sizes, smaller is better at helping reach all areas of the mouth.

Finally, don’t buy into tags like “German engineered bristles” as this usually refers to the same German machines that insert bristles on almost every brush on the market.

Avoid “ergonomic handle designs” or any brush which has complex or irregular grooves in the handle, since these small spaces will trap and retain bacteria on your brush (that’s never a good thing).


As always, ask your dentist for help! 😃

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