As dental clinicians, we constantly get this question: What type of bristles should I use?
We get it. Shopping for toothbrushes is confusing, especially when it comes to picking the best type of bristles. Obviously, soft ones feel the best, but many people are lured to the tough action stiffer bristles can take. That must make them more effective, right? Nope.
To be absolutely clear, you should NEVER use a medium or hard bristled toothbrush. That is, unless you want to detail the inside of your car on Sunday afternoon. While stiffer bristles do remove bacteria from your teeth and gums and give you that super clean feeling, there is a price to be paid.
Research shows that prolonged use of stiff bristles will lead to gum recession and toothbrush abrasion, which can further lead to tooth sensitivity. OUCH! That’s nothing to smile about.
In a nutshell, here’s what happens when you use hard bristles over time:
Medium or hard bristles may push the gum line up as well as wear it away, especially when you brush vigorously. This trauma causes the gums to recede from the tooth, allowing the softer root surface to become exposed. So now you’re not only brushing the hard enamel, but also the softer, more sensitive root surface, which has the durability of a finger nail, although much thicker.
As you continue to brush, these hard bristles will slowly, but surely, cut grooves into this softer root structure, leaving a divot in the root, which triggers sensitivity to hot or cold. Think about it, your teeth cannot tell if something is hot or cold, they only interpret these temperatures as pain.
Consequently, there is an entire line of toothpaste devoted to sensitivity that, given few exceptions, is entirely caused by zealously brushing with the wrong type of toothbrush. These toothpastes have a higher concentration of fluoride, which seals this exposed root surface. Have you ever noticed that sensitivity comes and goes? This is because the tooth is trying to seal itself, but the stiff bristles keep removing the seal. It becomes a vicious cycle.
So, to answer the question: Should you buy a toothbrush with hard or medium bristles? We think not. Not now. Not ever. Keep that aggressive toothbrush in the garage, where it belongs.
Obviously, we are obligated to make sure you know that the MD Brush uses soft bristles for the outer rows and extra soft tapered bristles for the center row. They gently, but effectively, clean the tooth’s surface and the sulcus pocket without damaging the gum line or tooth. If you haven’t gotten the scoop on what makes the MD Brush so effective, watch this video.