How and why does our toothbrush wear out? - Dental hygienist Murcia

  1. How our toothbrush wears out and what are the consequences?

The bristles that make up the brush head are the most important part of the toothbrush, as dental hygienists point out in their hygiene and health education sessions at dental clinics in the Region of Murcia.

The natural bristles, now in disuse, were traumatic as the technology did not allow for blunt ends and in reality the set of all the filaments of the brush caused constant micro-traumas to the gums and teeth. Moreover, they did not dry and this facilitated the accumulation of bacteria between the filaments.

Brushes should have rounded bristles to care for gums.
Brushes should have rounded bristles to care for gums.

The filaments that are manufactured today have rounded, atraumatic ends, which means that we can only damage gums and teeth if we use bad brushing techniques or apply excessive pressure with a manual toothbrush (electric toothbrushes usually have a pressure sensor).

  1. Types of brushes

Technology has made it possible to manufacture different diameters of filaments and depending on the diameter used in the set of all the filaments of the head we will have different hardnesses.

Another factor is the length of the filament, longer means softer and the other way around. That is why today we have brushes with different hardnesses:

  • Soft
  • Media
  • Ultrasoft (used after surgery)
  • Paediatric (with smaller head)
  1. Recommendations

The softer the brush, the more it gets damaged and this means changing it more frequently. Medium hard brushes are recommended.

Brushes should be changed every 3 monthsThis depends on the hardness of the brush and the way you brush, which is why the duration of a brush varies from person to person. Here are two examples of worn brushes:

  • Brushing techniques

For correct brushing we use the Bass technique.

This consists of placing the brush at a 45º angle at the junction of the tooth and the gum, making a sweeping movement downwards in the upper arch and upwards in the lower arch. This same movement is performed both on the external side of the tooth and on the internal side.

Lastly, the tongue should be cleaned, as it is the place where most bacteria accumulate in the oral cavity.