Types of toothbrush: choosing the best toothbrush bristle

Toothbrushes are available in a variety of bristle hardness, usually marked “soft,” “medium” or “hard.” Most people will only need a soft or medium brush for their teeth. A hard brush can damage your teeth and gums, especially if you use it to scrub your teeth roughly.

Regardless of the type of brush you choose, take care to use proper brushing technique. This means holding your brush at a 45-degree angle, positioned where your tooth and gum tissue meet. This can help clean under your gums. Also remember to brush your teeth’s surface gently, in a circular pattern – avoid roughly scrubbing in a back-and-forth motion. This can damage your gums!

If you’re unsure about toothbrush type or brushing technique, speak with your dental practitioner, who can give you detailed recommendations based on your own oral health.

types of toothbrushes

The different types of toothbrushes available are:

Manual Toothbrush

Manual Toothbrush

The most common form of toothbrush available in our homes is the manual toothbrush. The four primary formats of the manual toothbrushes are Bristle Hardness, Head Shape, Bristle pattern and handle design.

Bristle hardness

 Soft bristles are appropriate for most people, but medium- and hard-bristled toothbrushes are also available. The advantage of using a harder toothbrush is that it clears away more plaque, but it may irritate your gums and even wear away your enamel if you brush too hard.

Head shape

 Conventionally shaped toothbrush heads are rounded or squared off. Diamond-shaped toothbrushes tend to be better at reaching the back and sides of your molars.

Bristle pattern

 Several different bristle patterns are effective at cleaning teeth. Common varieties include wavy, crisscross, tapered and bristles with polishing cups. Your choice should depend on your dental needs and what feels the most comfortable.

Handle design

 The four broad classes of toothbrush handles include straight, contra-angle, non-slip grip and flexible. The handle you choose should allow you to comfortably reach every tooth surface, including the very back of your mouth.

Electric Toothbrush

An electric toothbrush performs rotations of its bristles and cleans hard to reach places. These brushes tend to be costlier, however, there are effortless when brushing. You simply press the button and let the toothbrush do its work. Some even have timers to help you brush more effectively. It has been discovered that compared to a manual brush, the multi-directional power brush might reduce the incidence of gingivitis and plaque when compared to regular side-to-side brushing.

Electric toothbrushes are further divided into three types depending on the speed of its movement:

Rotating toothbrushes

Rotating toothbrushes

Rotating toothbrushes have an oscillating effect. This means that the brush head rotates at high speed and in many cases also pulsates. The toothbrush makes a vertical brushing movement. With rotating toothbrushes, you have to brush each tooth individually. Do you have difficulty choosing your rear molars with a manual toothbrush? A rotating toothbrush is a good choice. Because of the small brush head, you can also easily reach the hard-to-reach places.

Sonic toothbrushes

Sonic toothbrushes

Sonic toothbrushes have an oval brush head that pulsates at high speed. The toothbrush makes a vertical brushing movement. To brush your teeth, make the same brushing movement as you do with a manual toothbrush. Do you like brushing your teeth like with a manual toothbrush? A Sonic toothbrush is a good choice.

Inter-dental brush

Inter-dental brush

An inter-dental also called as an interproximal brush is a small brush, typically disposable, either supplied with a reusable angled plastic handle or an integral handle, used for cleaning between teeth and between the wires of dental braces and the teeth. In short, it is used to clean the interdental space (big gap). The use of interdental brushes in conjunction with tooth brushing, has been shown to reduce both the amount of plaque and the incidence of gingivitis when compared to toothbrushing alone.


It is used specifically to clean along the gumline adjacent to the teeth. The bristles are usually shaped in a pointed arrow pattern to allow closer adaptation to the gums. A Sulcabrush is ideal for cleaning specific difficult-to-reach areas, such as between crowns, bridgework and crowded teeth.

End-tuft brush

End-tuft brush

It is a small round brush head comprising of seven tufts of tightly packed soft nylon bristles, trimmed so the bristles in the center can reach deeper into small spaces. The brush handle is ergonomically designed for a firm grip, giving the control and precision necessary to clean where most other cleaning aids cannot reach such as the posterior of the wisdom teeth (third molars), orthodontic structures (braces), crowded teeth, and tooth surfaces that are next to missing teeth. It can also be used to clean areas around implants, bridges, dentures and other appliances.

Chewable toothbrush

It is a miniature plastic molded toothbrush which can be placed inside the mouth. They are generally used by travelers and are sometimes available from bathroom vending machines. It is present in different flavors such as mint or bubble-gum and should be disposed of after use.

Ecological toothbrushes

They are toothbrush made using biodegradable materials such as wooden handles, bristles of bamboo and/or replaceable heads. They try to avoid plastic which increases pollution. Since most of the people living today use the commonly available toothbrush made of plastic, every time we replace our toothbrush the pollution increases. Ecological toothbrush is being given a lot of push to conserve our nature.

Important things about toothbrushes

Important things about toothbrushes

These are some of the most common types of toothbrush available in the market. Now you know the different types of toothbrushes. In order to choose the right toothbrush for use you should also know what are the different factors to be taken into consideration while choosing a new toothbrush.

Manual or powered? Your teeth don’t care

In the manual and powered toothbrush debate, it’s a wash. You just need to brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Both types of toothbrush can effectively and thoroughly clean your teeth. It all depends on which one you prefer. People who find it difficult to use a manual toothbrush may find a powered toothbrush more comfortable. Talk to your dentist about which kind is best for you.

There is no “correct” order for brushing and flossing

Brushing before flossing, flossing before brushing—it doesn’t matter to your teeth, as long as you do both.

Toothbrushes like to be left out in the open

Cleaning your toothbrush is easy: Rinse it with tap water to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store it upright and allow it to air dry. If you store your toothbrush with other toothbrushes, make sure they are separated to prevent cross contamination. And do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of unwanted bacteria than the open air.

Lifespan = 3-4 Months

Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do as good of a job cleaning your teeth.

When it comes to choosing a brush, go soft

Whether you use a manual or powered toothbrush, choose a soft-bristled brush. Firm or even medium-strength bristles may cause damage to your gums and enamel. When brushing your teeth, don’t scrub vigorously—only brush hard enough to clean the film off your teeth. Your fluoride toothpaste will do the rest of the work.

Remember: 2 minutes, 2 times a day

4 minutes a day goes a long way for your dental health. Put the time in each day to keep your smile healthy and keep up this twice-a-day habit.

Sharing is caring, but not for toothbrushes

Sharing a toothbrush can mean you’re also sharing germs and bacteria. This could be a particular concern if you have a cold or flu to spread, or you have a condition that leaves your immune system compromised.

Size of toothbrush

Since everyone’s mouth and teeth are different, the size of your toothbrush is also important. Be certain to select a toothbrush that’s the right size for your mouth. For most people, a brush whose head is about an inch tall and a half-inch wide will work perfectly. Larger brushes are available, but you may find it difficult to reach the areas around your molars in the back of your mouth. And if you have a very small mouth, you may need to look for a smaller brush head.