You may not put much thought into buying something as commonplace as a toothbrush. After all, it’s certainly not the most important purchase you’ll make. And brushing your teeth is such a simple chore that you wouldn’t think you need a special brush to do it.

Your choice of toothbrush, however, can have a major impact on your oral health—for better or for worse.

Look for the following features the next time you pick up a new toothbrush to ensure a healthy smile.

1. Soft (or Extra Soft!) Toothbrush Bristles

An innocent-looking toothbrush can do a surprising amount of damage to your smile. If you use a brush with “medium” or “hard” bristles, then they are likely too rough for your gums and enamel.

Firm bristles can wear away notches in your teeth and cause gums to recede. Choose instead a toothbrush labeled as having “soft” or even “extra soft” bristles.

Soft toothbrush bristles are especially important if you tend to use a lot of pressure when you brush. The softer your brush, the better for your smile.

2. A Toothbrush Head that Fits in Your Mouth

Too big and a toothbrush head can make you gag. Too small and the toothbrush may not clean all the plaque off your teeth.

It’s important to choose a toothbrush that’s just the right size so that you can comfortably maneuver it around your mouth to clean all of your teeth.

Infants’ toothbrushes come in very tiny sizes but children’s brushes can be much larger. Buy a brush that suits your child’s mouth. If your own mouth is on the small side, then you might find that a child-size brush works best for you, as well!

3. Ergonomic Toothbrush Handle

The toothbrush handle may be the least important part for some people. For others, however, having the right handle makes a huge difference.

If you can’t properly grasp your toothbrush, then you may have a difficult time moving it around your mouth. For example, having arthritis in your hands or limited hand mobility after a stroke can make it awkward or even painful to grasp a slim handle.

Pick out a toothbrush with a handle that’s easy for you to hold onto. Some brushes are designed to be bigger specifically for individuals who can’t fully close their fingers around a slim handle.

4. Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes

You might be surprised to hear that it doesn’t really matter whether you opt for a powered brush or a regular manual one. Brushing at least twice a day and reaching all of your teeth with the toothbrush are the important things. You can successfully clean your teeth with either type of brush.

You may find that you prefer using an electric toothbrush because it does much of the work for you. All you have to do is move it around your mouth. Additionally, many powered toothbrushes have wide easy-to-hold handles.

Conversely, a regular toothbrush might be better for you if the vibration of a powered brush feels strange to your teeth.

Whichever kind of toothbrush you pick, the important thing is to use it correctly.

5. A Toothbrush You WANT to Use!

The best toothbrush for you personally is one that you’re willing to use. If you love the feel and look of your brush, you’ll be more motivated to clean your teeth regularly. On the other hand, if you don’t like your toothbrush, then you’ll make excuses to skip the chore.

Choose a brush that you like and you’ll find that brushing your teeth can be a refreshing and satisfying task.

What else can make your tooth brushing routine easier and more effective? Find out by visiting Tacoma family dentist, Dr. Duke Bui.