Recently, I visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. One of the items on display was a toothbrush thought to be used by Jefferson himself. Back in colonial days, toothbrushes were made by attaching hogs hair bristles to a bone handle with copper wire. Because of the cost of hogs hair bristles, it was not uncommon for all members of a family to share a toothbrush. Many people didn’t even use a toothbrush, but instead used a cloth to wipe their teeth!
Today we have so many choices for toothbrushes. They come in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes. Some are electric, some are manual, some have long bristles, some have short bristles, some have Big Bird smiling up at you from one end and others have special handles for arthritic hands. The question is which toothbrush is the right toothbrush for you?
Dr. Milewski recommends a soft bristle brush in a size and shape that fits your mouth comfortably, allowing you to reach all areas easily. Many people like battery operated toothbrushes, which have the added benefit of a timer. We find that many of our senior patients find a battery operated toothbrush because it is easier for them to use.
Whatever you chose, make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Bristles that become frayed and worn with use and will be less effective at cleaning teeth. Keep your toothbrush stored in an upright position and allow it to air dry.
And remember…the most effective toothbrush is the one you use! So use it. At least twice a day!