Soft vs. Hard Bristles: Which Toothbrush Should You Buy?

Hinsdale Dentist

It can be overwhelming to stop in the dental hygiene aisle of the grocery store and stare at the seemingly endless wall of different brands, styles, and types of toothbrushes. Electric or manual? Bells and whistles or traditional? Built-in tongue scraper or flexible brush head? With all of the options, it’s easy for certain, rather important, details to be overlooked. When was the last time you considered how tough the bristles on your brush should be? Strengths range from super soft to firm, and not all brushes are created equally. Today, we’re getting to the bottom of bristle strength to help you make the best decision for your mouth.

Types of Bristles

At the store, you’re likely to find toothbrushes with extra soft, soft, or medium bristles, but occasionally you may come across a hard or firm-bristled brush. Brushes with firmer, tougher bristles are becoming more and more obsolete with time. Each firmness has different benefits and drawbacks, but as a general rule of thumb, avoid hard or even medium-bristled brushes. Gentler is better when it comes to your teeth. Soft should be just fine, but if you have sensitivity or enamel issues, opt for extra soft.

Why To Avoid Hard Bristles

There are many drawbacks to improper brushing techniques, and using the wrong bristle strength can exasperate them. Using too much force, having a toothbrush that is too firm, or not brushing frequently enough can all have adverse effects on the strength of your dental enamel or can do damage to your gums. A 2015 study on “traumatic tooth brushing” found that hard bristles can lead to gum recession and lesions on the gums.

How To Know What’s Right For You

There will likely never be a time where using hard bristles is the best option for you or your teeth. While some people claim to prefer them, the truth is they do more harm than good and it is best to avoid firm bristles entirely. Instead, you should try to keep your dental enamel and gums intact by protecting them with a softer toothbrush. If you really think a hard-bristled brush is a good fit, consult your dentist before purchasing one or consider switching to an electric toothbrush to get that extra-clean feeling. When choosing between extra soft, soft, or medium bristles, choose a toothbrush based on your sensitivity levels and personal preference. Your dentist may be able to guide you based on your specific oral healthcare needs as well.

When it comes to bristle strength, the toughest is not the clear winner. Treating your mouth gently and attentively is the best route to go in your oral hygiene routine. If you have questions about bristle strength or brushing technique, do not hesitate to reach out to your dentist to learn more.

To ask any questions or to schedule your next dental checkup, give us a call at Hinsdale Dental today! Return to Blog