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June 2014 Toothbrush Selection and Tooth Brushing Tips

Good tooth brushing habits for children and adults are vital for healthy teeth and gums. Toothbrushes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. For children, Dr. Suzanne Fohl of Frederick Cosmetic and Family Dentistry recommends a line of toothbrushes, like Oral B for every stage of childhood based on the child’s age, dexterity and tooth development. For stage 1, ages 4-24 months as the baby teeth erupt, use a brush designed for parent’s hands with baby soft bristles and oval bristle design to clean baby’s teeth and to massage gums. For ages 2-4 use a narrow head for small mouths with a small chunky handle to reach back teeth. For ages 5-7 choose a toothbrush with a tapered head and cup shaped bristle design that surrounds each tooth to make cleaning easier. The squishy handle makes it easy for kids to get a good grip to assist with their daily brushing. For ages 8 and up, the pre-teens with a mixed dentition (adult and baby teeth), choose a brush with multilevel design for changing dentition. The criss- crossed design of the bristles aids in cleaning in between the teeth (interproximally). The handle is larger and easy to use. 

For adults, Dr. Fohl recommends a soft bristled head with at least four rows, multi-tufted and nylon bristles and recommends replacement every 6 months. Remember if you have a cold, throw away your toothbrush and replace it immediately. Thoroughly brush your teeth every morning and before bedtime with a pea sized amount of toothpaste on the brush. The mechanics of toothbrushing actually physically removes the bacteria from your surfaces of the teeth and prevents the bacteria from colonizing on your teeth. If the bacteria and plaque are not removed, it may harden and form tartar (calculus) that will irritate your gums and cause bad breath. Be sure to brush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth and use a gentle back and forth (sulcular) motion. Be careful not to forget to gently massage your gums and your tongue. Take your time spend at least one minute for the upper teeth and 1 minute for the lower teeth. Be sure to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth. It is important to brush all of the front and back teeth to prevent food from remaining in the grooves and pits of the teeth so cavities will not be able to develop.

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