Types of toothbrushes: characteristics, benefits and uses

Today you can choose different types of toothbrushes that help us take care of oral health. Find out here the characteristics of each of the variants of these dental hygiene tools.

Last update: October 30, 2021

To take care of oral health it is necessary to pay attention to the hygiene of teeth, gums and tongue. Fortunately, there are different types of toothbrushes that they facilitate the cleaning of the mouth according to the needs of each person.

In this article we will tell you about the important aspects to consider when choosing a toothbrush. Keep reading and find out about the variety of these instruments and what are the benefits of each one.

Features of toothbrushes

Toothbrushes are oral hygiene instruments used to clean teeth, gums, palate and tongue. Its main function is remove food debris and bacteria present in the mouth to avoid their accumulation and proliferation.

By disorganizing and eliminating the bacterial plaque, it acts on the cause of many oral pathologies. In this way, the toothbrush is understood as a fundamental instrument for the prevention of many of the common diseases in the mouth.

As we already mentioned, there are different types of toothbrushes and each one has particular characteristics that make them ideal for certain specific situations. Anyway, you should know that all these instruments consist of the following parts:

  • Mango: It is the area of ​​the brush designed to facilitate its grip and manipulation. They are usually made of a flexible, non-slip plastic and have an ergonomic shape that improves grip. There are also those made with bamboo, designed to reduce environmental pollution.
  • Head: It is the portion that supports the rows of bristles and the one that enters the mouth for cleaning. The size and shape vary in the different types of toothbrushes, depending on the specific area to be cleaned.
  • Sows: They are small synthetic filaments that, grouped together, allow the sweeping movement and elimination of oral waste.

Some brushes also have a cap to cover the head and allow storage and transport without damaging the bristles. The perforated design allows the filaments to be aerated to prevent the growth of microorganisms.

Different types of toothbrushes

There are many types of toothbrushes on the market with different shapes and sizes in handles, heads and bristles. The particular design of each one is due to the search for precise and adequate oral hygiene in the area of ​​the mouth for which it was designed.

Anyway, it is necessary to know that regardless of the variety of brush used, correct dental hygiene is influenced by other important aspects. The technique used, the duration of each cleaning and the frequency with which the brushing is carried out are much more significant than the type of instrument used.

With the aim of preventing oral pathologies, various types of toothbrushes have been developed. There are classifications according to the hardness of their filaments, the way they are handled or their uses.

It is not only the toothbrush that is responsible for oral health. Many other factors play a role.

According to the hardness of the bristles

As we have already mentioned, the bristles are the filaments that exert the sweeping movement to eliminate the bacterial plaque from the dental surfaces. Their thickness and firmness change and that is why it is possible to distinguish the following brush hardnesses:

  • Hard: the bristles are thick, strong and stiff, so they are recommended only for healthy, well-cared mouths with thick gums that do not present sensitivity or bleeding. It is advisable not to exert too much pressure during brushing to avoid damaging the enamel or gingival tissue. Currently, they are not widely used.
  • Intermediates: As the name implies, the thickness of the bristles is intermediate; not so hard nor so soft. They are used in mouths with good oral health, without sensitivity, that tolerate the firmness of brushing.
  • Soft filaments: they are the most used today. When in doubt, they are the ones to choose. The bristles are soft and produce less friction. They are recommended for people with tooth sensitivity, fragile gums, which bleed or swell easily.
  • With extra soft bristles: the filaments are very soft, so they are indicated for situations in which the patient is very sensitive. They are advisable after orthodontic treatment, after teeth whitening or in cases of gingival retraction, for example.

According to its operation

The way toothbrushes are handled allows them to be separated into two large groups:

  • Manuals: They are those that need our energy to carry out the cleansing movements. In this group are conventional toothbrushes, which are used regularly, and those with special designs that also work operated by the patient.
  • Electrical: These brushes are battery or battery operated and are capable of moving the head bristles in different directions automatically. They have 3 types of movements (horizontal, vertical and rotating) that are combined, making the cleaning process easier and more complete. They can be used by anyone, but they are especially useful in children, orthodontic patients or patients with motor problems.

According to its purpose

The common goal of all types of toothbrushes is the removal of plaque and cleaning the mouth. In any case, some have their own characteristics that make them more appropriate to use in certain specific situations.

Here are types of toothbrushes with specific uses.

Children’s brushes

Children’s toothbrushes are characterized by having a smaller size, shorter head and soft bristles. In addition, the handle is usually wide to facilitate grip.

There are different sizes depending on the age of the little one, detailing on the packaging for which stage they correspond. It is common for them to have attractive decorations that motivate infants to commit to taking care of their mouth.



Interproximal brushes

Interproximal brushes are used to remove the bacterial plaque retained in the interdental spaces, that is, in the area where a tooth contacts the one next to it. They are manufactured in different sizes, so it is important to choose the correct thickness according to the space between teeth.

In general, they come with a handle that can be fitted with different heads with different sizes, to be changed according to the size of each interdental space. The active part of the brush is shaped like a bottle beak or a tuft of wire from which multiple filaments emerge.

At the time of use, you must choose the head that best suits the area between the teeth to be cleaned. the same must fit loosely so that it is the filaments that contact the tooth surfaces and not the wire.

The handle is usually angled to allow easy access to all interdental spaces in the mouth. The cleaning movement should be from the inside out and you should avoid turning it.

Periodontal brushes

These toothbrushes, also called sulculars or crevicular, have the particularity of having a slim head, with 2 rows of soft bristles. The size allows precise and smooth access to hard-to-reach areas.

They are used in patients with gingivitis, gingival retraction, periodontal pockets, and pyorrhea. They are also useful in patients with fixed orthodontics.

Orthodontic brushes

They are toothbrushes specially designed to facilitate dental hygiene for patients who wear fixed appliances. Well clean between braces, bands and bows can be very difficult in the conventional way.

They have the peculiarity of having the central row of filaments shorter than the rest. This helps clean the teeth and braces without wearing down the brush or affecting the appliance.

Orthodontic patients can use special brushes that improve access to certain areas of their mouth.


Post-surgical brushes

This type of toothbrush is indicated after oral surgery, during the process of recovery and healing of tissues. The head is small and has very soft bristles that allow a careful cleaning without damaging the gums or teeth.

They are also useful for not neglecting oral cleaning in situations in which the patient has thrush or wounds in the mouth.

Choosing a toothbrush

Toothbrushes are an accessible and easy-to-use tool that helps us take care of oral health. Its proper use from an early age and throughout life it can prevent many oral problems.

But as you have seen, when it comes to taking care of your teeth you have different types of toothbrushes to choose from. It is advisable to combine them according to your needs to achieve a complete and thorough cleaning.

It is important that when buying a toothbrush the characteristics of the oral cavity are taken into account. Evaluating the mouth size, if the teeth are very close to each other or there is a lot of space between them, are factors that must be considered to choose the best alternative. It is also useful to assess whether the gums bleed easily or are sensitive.

You must remember that for oral cleaning to be effective, toothbrushes must be renewed every 3 months or sooner if they are very worn. Having a tool in good condition is essential to ensure proper hygiene.

Complementing brushing with the use of fluoride toothpastes, dental floss, and mouthwashes is also of utmost importance. The combination of these products in a frequent cleaning and with the correct technique helps to keep the mouth healthy.

In the event that there are doubts as to which types of toothbrushes to choose, the ideal is to consult with the dentist. The professional will be able to indicate the best options to keep the mouth healthy.

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