Brush Up on the Best Floss and Toothbrush for You

Dr. Gary Vance

| 2 min read

How to shop for a toothbrush
Good oral hygiene may seem like a cosmetic issue, but the state of your teeth and gums impacts your overall wellbeing (in fact, gum disease is a major risk factor for serious conditions, like heart disease and diabetes). Brushing your teeth and flossing regularly are the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but what should you consider when shopping for a toothbrush and dental floss?
Whether you prefer disposable or electric toothbrushes, it’s important to look for the following things before making a purchase:
  • Size matters. For most adults, a half-inch wide, one-inch tall toothbrush head will allow easy access to all of your teeth and be the most effective. Smaller than that and you won’t reach all of your teeth, meaning plaque can build up.
  • Keep it soft. Most drugstores have three options for bristle variety: soft, medium or hard nylon bristles. The best way to go is soft, since medium and hard bristles could actually damage your gums and tooth enamel.
  • Look for a seal of approval. If a toothbrush has undergone extensive quality control testing to measure effectiveness, it will have earned the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval. This seal ensures that the bristles have soft tips that won’t fall out during typical brushing and that it can effectively reduce plaque build-up and gum disease in the early stages.
Your floss should also have the ADA seal to ensure its effectiveness in removing food trapped between teeth and any bacteria that forms there. Floss is made up of nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments and may be treated with flavor agents, like mint, to make flossing more pleasant. A few other notes about floss:
  • If you have large gaps between teeth, consider dental tape or super floss (orthodontic floss that is thicker and allows you to floss around braces or bridges).
  • Waxed floss is easier to slide in the tight spaces between your teeth.
  • Disposable floss is perfect if you’re interested in less mess. They are designed for single use and have a handle-like design to help you reach the teeth at the back of your mouth.
Oral-B’s Essential Floss, which has no bells or whistles, is a great option to have on hand and share among family members. The most important thing is that when it comes to flossing, do it every day!
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Photo credit: William Warby

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