By Alisa Wolfson
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These toothbrushes are something to smile about.
A shocking nine out of 10 Americans have some form of tooth decay or cavities, according to the CDC — and a lot of that could be prevented with the right oral care routine, including regular teeth brushing twice a day, experts say. “The most common mistake is that people tend to brush back and forth and very vigorously, whereas brushing is meant to be done most effectively with a gentle rotational motion starting from the gums and moving down on the top and the opposite on the bottom,” New York-based orthodontist Dr. Steve Giannoutsos tells MarketWatch.
So which toothbrush is right for you? “There are pros and cons between electric and manual toothbrushes, but with proper technique, they are both effective at removing plaque and reducing gingivitis,” Dr. Martin Rabinovich, an orthodontist with Diamond Braces in New Jersey, told MarketWatch. Detroit-based orthodontist Dr. Jamie Reynolds tells MarketWatch: “Not everyone needs a top-of-the-line brush. Coupled with regular visits to the dentist, a proper bite and avoidance of sugary snacks and beverages, your teeth should be set up for a lifetime of health.” Here are the best manual, electric, travel and other toothbrushes.
This manual toothbrush is a step above the rest: Dr. Rabinovich says he personally uses it because of its slimmer bristles, which give you a slightly deeper clean. The floss-tip bristles are designed to “sweep food and plaque from along the gum line” and charcoal bristles “help absorb bacteria in the mouth.” Amazon reviewers love this toothbrush too, giving it has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. In addition to brushing, Wisconsin-based dentist, Dr. Sid Schulz of Aspen Dental, adds that “plaque removal is best accomplished by antimicrobial mouth rinse for 30 seconds, twice a day.”
Dr. Rabinovich says the Quip is a nice hybrid between an electric toothbrush and a manual one. “It feels like a manual toothbrush with the bonus of added vibrations to help break up dental plaque build-up,” he says. It also features a two-minute timer with 30-second quadrant intervals, it’s waterproof, shower-safe and brush heads and batteries can be delivered on a subscription basis.
Though it’s pricey, it works for those who don’t like brushing, experts say: “This seems to be the only brush that can take non-motivated people who would otherwise skip brushing and encourage them to brush,” says Giannoutsos. With a beep every 30 seconds indicating that it’s time to change the quadrant in the mouth, this toothbrush also has an app that links to a smartphone and monitors brushing frequency.
The Silver Bristle Technology in this toothbrush naturally eliminates 99.9% of bacteria in six hours, the company claims. Because most travel toothbrushes are often packed when damp and housed in plastic cases or floating loosely through a toiletry bag, bacteria doubles every 20 minutes. This toothbrush uses an antimicrobial technology that’s infused into its bristles. With an overall 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, one reviewer writes, “These travel toothbrushes are the real deal, soft, long-lasting bristles matched with a comfortable and sturdy handle that folds.”
Dr. Schulz told MarketWatch, “The ideal softest toothbrush should always have rounded and nylon bristles that are the softest that can be found. This is necessary to avoid gum recession.” However, any toothbrush can result in permanent gum loss over time if used incorrectly, according to Schulz. “The Oral-B toothbrush that we sell is an excellent brush that has a long battery life, uses motion that is less apt to cause recession and has a timer which can be helpful for some patients,” he says.
This rechargeable electric toothbrush made by the Swedish company Foreo uses silicone bristles to gently massage the gums while cleaning and whitening teeth with eight speed settings. Dr. Bobby Lam of Precision Dental in Las Vegas tells MarketWatch, “The silicone is antibacterial and prevents wear and abrasion on the gum line due to its medical grade silicone.”
Dr. Adam Harwood, an endodontist in New York City, says summertime can actually cause dental issues, and although we don’t generally think of altering our oral hygiene routines based on seasons, there’s good reason to. “The water quality in swimming pools can affect our teeth because water pH and chlorine levels react with teeth, potentially causing discoloration and enamel damage,” says Harwood. Additionally, during the summer and in the heat he says people tend to make poor rehydration choices. “Picking up a cold can of soda or a glass of lemonade rather than water can be acidic and sugary, which are both enemies to healthy smiles.”