Soft Bristle vs. Hard Bristle Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes in a clear cup on a counter

Choosing a Toothbrush: Soft Bristles vs Hard Bristles

Keeping your smile clean will ensure it stays beautiful and healthy. It’s not only crucial that you brush and floss consistently, but also that you use dental products that are best for your mouth and recommended by the American Dental Association as well.

While the first toothbrush was made from a twig and animal hair, advanced technology has allowed us to develop a variety of different toothbrushes. Toothbrush bristles are what keep your teeth bacteria-free, so choosing between hard and soft bristles can affect your smile more than you think.

Advantages of a Soft Bristle Toothbrush

Toothbrushes that have soft bristles are often recommended by dentists like Dr. Brian Klym in Petoskey, MI due to the fact that they’re gentle on your teeth. The flexible bristles allow you to have more control, so you can easily remove plaque from all areas of your teeth.

Soft bristle toothbrushes are ideal for people with:

  • Sensitive teeth — soft bristles gently brush your teeth without causing bleeding or pain
  • Porcelain dental restorations — one of the most important steps of taking care of restorations such as veneers or dental implants is that you use a soft bristle toothbrush to protect them from scratches
  • Eroded enamel — this style toothbrush will make sure the existing enamel isn’t damaged

Some people avoid soft bristle toothbrushes because they think this option doesn’t remove bacteria as well. However, brushing with a soft bristle toothbrush twice a day for two minutes each time will ensure your teeth remain free from decay.

Can a Hard Bristle Toothbrush Damage My Teeth?

Some people choose to use toothbrushes with hard bristles because they believe it’ll clean their teeth better. They assume the harder they brush, the more effective it is. While it’s possible for this kind of toothbrush to remove slightly more plaque, it can also cause damage to your teeth, roots, and gums.

The outer layer on your teeth is called your enamel. Because of its thinness, it can become eroded easily. Many dentists like Dr. Andrew Spector can agree that using a toothbrush with hard bristles can wear down your enamel quicker than one with soft bristles, making your teeth susceptible to stains or discoloration.

Since your teeth are connected directly to your gums, they’re both affected by your oral care routine. If you’re brushing thoroughly, your toothbrush is likely to brush over parts of your gums– even if it’s unintentional. Just like your enamel, hard bristle toothbrushes can cause your gums to recede and the root of your tooth to become exposed.

The next time you have a regular check-up, talk to your dentist about tips on maintaining your oral health.

A man brushing his teeth in the mirror

Which Soft Bristle Toothbrushes Do Dentists Recommend?

With so many toothbrushes available to us, it can be hard to decide which one to choose. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, so you’re sure to find one that fits your oral needs.

While most soft bristle toothbrushes will suffice, there are some that dentists recommend to their patients the most. Consider purchasing one of the following:

  1. Oral-B Pro-Health — includes additional features like criss-cross bristles and a tongue cleaner
  2. Colgate 360 Optic White — ideal for those looking to gently whiten their teeth while they brush
  3. Colgate Premier Extra Clean –– a simple toothbrush that has a nicely gripped handle
  4. Tom’s of Maine Dye Free Toothbrush — a natural option with a curved handle

Looking for a More Advanced Option?

There are also unique toothbrushes for those who want to ensure they’re removing as much plaque as possible without damaging their teeth or gums. They include additional features that’ll assist you with your oral hygiene routine and make the brushing process more efficient.

If you want a toothbrush that has more power than a manual toothbrush, dentists like Dr. James Fetsch may recommend an electric toothbrush. These battery-powered tools rotate while you brush, making it easier to brush hard to reach areas.

Some electric toothbrushes such as Quip include built-in timers that pulsate for two minutes and even let you know when to switch to different areas of your mouth. Other variations such as one by Philips Sonicare allow you to regulate the power of the vibration.

A mother and daughter brushing their teeth

Brushing Safely and Thoroughly

If you want to make sure your smile is as white and flawless as possible, then it’s essential to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day. It’s also crucial to use a toothbrush that isn’t harsh on your mouth and will help you enjoy the brushing process. That’s why we recommend soft bristled or electric toothbrushes.

Everyone has unique dental needs, so make sure to discuss your options with your dentist if you’re conflicted about what tools to buy.