What To Look For In A Toothbrush

There are better ways to shop for toothbrushes than color, price or most convincing marketing buzzword on the packaging. We recommend taking advice from a dental insurer, figuring that those in that line of work would rather take your premiums while subsidizing as few root canals and cavity fillings as possible.

Here’s what Delta Dental has to say on the finer points brush buying:

* Go soft. Make sure the bristles are soft. Harder bristles are rough on your gums. Older brushes tend to stiffen as old toothpaste gums them up, tipping you off that it’s time for a change.

* Electric brushes do the work for you. While not necessary to brush your teeth properly, electric models minimize the amount of effort you’ll have to put into the act. These are almost always more expensive than non-electric brushes, but you may find them worth the extra cost.

* Smaller heads tend to work better. It can be tougher to reach into the back corners of your mouth with a brush that’s too large. Aim for a smaller head for more precision.

How to select a toothbrush [Delta Dental]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:



    Are… are we being punked?

  2. Torchwood says:

    It must be a slow news Monday.

    I buy my toothbrushes in bulk at Costco.

  3. a354174 says:

    I’m going to guess the next article is going to be “how to wipe properly”

  4. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    This article was last updated in 2008! The advances in tooth-cleaning sciences in the years since have more than quadrupled our knowledge.

    For example, in 2010 researchers in Belgium using the (then) most accurate x-ray tomography equipment available proved that it’s actually a sprite – and not a fairy at all – which leaves money under our pillows.

    • HSVhockey says:

      That is BS. I’ve SEEN the tooth fairy, he was dressed like a pro wrestler who looked like he might be bad at acting.

      • Diabolos needs more socks says:

        Can you please point to the location on this doll where the tooth fairy asked you to smell?

  5. chemmy says:

    I like the ones with bristles.

  6. Diabolos needs more socks says:

    What to look for in a toothbrush: A brush.
    What not to look for in a toothbrush: A tooth.

  7. Cat says:

    True Fact: The toothbrush was invented in Kentucky.

    (Because if it was invented anyplace else, it would be called a “TEETHBRUSH”)

  8. chemmy says:

    Is it time yet to make up consumer stories and email them to Phil and see which ones get posted?

  9. ChuckECheese says:

    All this angst aside, toothbrushes have gotten strange lately. They all have odd rubbery eraser thingys, strange shapes. I used to be a huge fan of the Mentadent toothbrush, which so far as I can tell, is no longer made.

  10. cameronl says:

    I use whatever brush I get free from my dentist after my biannual cleaning and check up.

    • cybrczch says:

      Ditto. I haven’t had to buy a toothbrush, toothpaste, or dental floss in years.

    • baquwards says:

      Same here, get a cleaning every 6 months, get a new toothbrush and some floss. I figure my dentist will give me the proper cleaning tool. They are name brand Oral B, with their name printed on them.

    • DrRonster says:

      Seriously. They should be replaced every couple months.

  11. Cat says:

    Hog-hair on the end of a stick.

  12. MichaelRyanSD says:

    I’m surprised he didn’t ask at the end “What do you look for in a toothbrush?”

  13. Kensuke Nakamura says:

    I can’t say enough about how awesome the sonicare is. My family dabbled in electric toothbrushes in the 90’s but we eventually abandoned them because they just didn’t seem to be worth the bother. When my girlfriend suggested I try one, I was very skeptical. But I tried it and it about knocked my teeth out… in a good way. After the first brushing, my teeth felt like bare bone. Just like getting cleaned at the dentist without the nasty grainy toothpaste. It was a little traumatic because it was much more aggressive than I was used to, but I’ve been using it religiously since and my dentist has nothing but good stuff to say (except that I need to floss more).
    I just wish they had a corded version, when am I ever going to use an electric tooth brush out of range of a socket? But my first one did last like 3 or 4 years, so it wasn’t a big deal to replace it.

    • who? says:

      My dentist recommended a sonicare several years ago, and it really has helped.

      I disagree about wanting a corded one, though. The only electric outlet in our bathroom is a switched one that only works when the lights are on. One of the joys of owning a 1929 house, I suppose. I have to charge the toothbrush in the bedroom. It only needs to be charged about every other week, though, so it’s not a big deal.

    • The Twilight Clone says:

      They would never ever make a corded version. It wouldn’t need replacing. Same reason the seal the battery compartment.

      • who? says:

        Naah. I’m on my 3rd sonicare. Something else has always broken before the battery died (always something different). They seem to last about 3-5 years.

    • DrRonster says:

      I recommend the sonicare to patients but I can’t be anywhere near one when its being operated due to the effects of it’s frequency. Manual toothbrush for me. And look for a toothpaste with .45% fluoride (Crest Pro-Health) not the usual .15%.

  14. Dallas_shopper says:

    I don’t use an electric toothbrush but I have hardly any plaque buildup when I go for yearly cleanings. *shrug*

  15. J.A.Reader says:

    Damn! I clicked on a Phil Villareal post by accident.

  16. t2fastspin says:

    I always make sure I have financing lined up ahead of time. Also, even if I’m considering trading in my old Oral-B, I will only mention that after a firm price has been set. I also buy certified pre-owned, to avoid the instant depreciation after the sale.

    • failurate says:

      All those new toothbrush buyers are paying for is that new toothbrush smell… which will give them cancer.

  17. do-it-myself says:

    Oral-B CrossAction with Tounge scrapper. Can’t live without it.

    “Last updated: April 2008”

    Now it’s the Crest Pro-Health Oral B CrossAction I guess. Toothbrush good, Mouthwash, not so good.

  18. RiverStyX says:

    Can’t we just buy our toothbrushes at the gas station like normal people?

    Oh wait, its just Phil Macrackin..off his meds as usual.

  19. DrRonster says:

    Look for the proper price as well as for bristles. I just “steal” the kiddie dinasaur ones since the bristles are in different colors and the price is right.

  20. Triterion says:

    Thats my baby in the Pic! She looooooooooves to brush her teeth for some reason! Yeah, some slow news day, haha