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Learn About Toothbrushes

Brushing and flossing are essential practices to maintain dental health, yet some people (including celebrities) opt to skip the oral health basic. That decision is foolish as science has proven that brushing is essential not only to oral health, but general well being. That is why every person needs to have the basic tools of a toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and dental floss in their dental bag-of-tricks.

Of the dental tools, selecting a toothbrush may be the most difficult task for consumers. Aside from the huge array of color choices, individuals also have to decide between manual and electric options and natural bristles or fabricated varieties. Next time you ponder the decision, here is some information that may sway you in one direction or another.

The Toothbrush Back Story

For thousands of years humans have been dedicated to their oral health. The very first dental care device in recorded in history was a chewstick (a twig with a frayed end) dating back to 3000 BC. Since that time, archaeological expeditions have unearthed an assortment of primitive toothbrushes including feathers, tree twigs, animal bones and porcupine quills that were initially used to help aid in the task of removing food particles, dental plaque and freshening bad breath.

Although there are other tales of toothbrushes being used for hundreds of years, the devices were primitive and made by hand until a combination of necessity and boredom prompted the creative genius of a prisoner. Legend has it that Englishman and jailbird William Addis made a toothbrush out of bone and bristles while serving time in 1780. Prior to his creation, tooth cleaning involved covering a rag with soot and salt and using that contraption to rub away tooth filth. Addis design laid the groundwork for contemporary toothbrushes. Once he was free, he started mass-producing the contraptions and by 1840 toothbrushes were being made in England, France, Germany, and Japan (The company founded by Addis in 1780). America did not get on the bandwagon until the first toothbrush patent was issued in 1857. Mass production began in 1885.

The earliest mass produced brushes were made out of natural animal bristles and not everyone had access to the luxury item. However as science advanced courtesy of DuPont inventing nylon (the material now used for bristles), the toothbrush business really started to take off. Thanks to the chemical creation, the first nylon toothbrush went on sale February 24, 1938. The rest is dental history.

How To Pick a Toothbrush

The market is flooded with toothbrushes of all difference shapes, colors and designs. Millions of the contraptions are sold annually. According to the 2003 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, Americans voted the toothbrush as the number one invention they could not do without. Thankfully, they do not have to as the devices can be purchased for as little as a dollar. Regardless of the price tag here’s how to pick the best toothbrush:

  • Nylon Bristles: Although the advent of nylon made toothbrushes readily available, some companies still sell natural bristled devices. Natural bristles are not as sanitary as nylon brushes because bacteria enjoy calling the natural option home.
  • The Softer The Better: Nylon can be firm or malleable and when it comes to buying a toothbrush the softer the bristles the better. Soft brushes can conform to the shape of teeth and get in tight spaces while harder bristles can be too rough on tooth enamel, cause gum recession that may lead to tooth sensitivity and other dental problems.
  • Get a Grip: If you feel more comfortable using an angled toothbrush, so be it, but if you prefer something straight, go for it. The device just needs to be comfortable to use so any option is fine. There is no scientific proof that an angled toothbrush is better than a straight one.

Complement Your Mouth: A big headed toothbrush will be hard to angle in a small mouth, so make sure the size of the device works with the size of your oral cavity.

About Electric Toothbrushes

The first electric toothbrush, the Broxodent, was invented in Switzerland in 1954 and the initial intent of the device was to make tooth-brushing and dental care easier for those with limited motor skills and patients who wore dental braces. Now the market place is saturated with electric toothbrush options featuring sonic cleaning, spinning heads and other features to boost the tooth-brushing product. The more features an electric toothbrush has, the more costly the device will be.

According to 0900-DENTIST, there are advantages to using an electric toothbrush including:

  • Making it easier to brush around dental work including bridges and braces.
  • Motivate individuals to brush longer as electric toothbrushes prevent hands and arms from getting tired.
  • Because electric toothbrushes can remove more dental plaque, the devices can reduce the odds of developing gingivitis.
  • Provide whiter teeth courtesy of tooth stain removal.

Regardless of what type of toothbrush you use, it is important to use it at least twice a day, for two minutes per session. All toothbrushes should be replaced after three or four months as they will wear down and become ineffective at that time. Aside from brushing and flossing, eating a healthy diet, using fluoride toothpaste and getting regular dental check ups and professional cleanings from a dentist comprises the rest of the dental health equation.

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