22 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: I’m having trouble choosing a toothbrush

Choosing a toothbrush can be quite confusing since they are marketed as hard, medium or soft bristles with different shapes, sizes and colours

Dr Joy Antony
15 Aug 2016 | 03:12 pm

Hard, medium or soft – with so many options available for a toothbrush, I’m not sure what is best. Also, how often should I change my toothbrush?

Brushing your teeth twice daily is recommended to maintain your teeth in a healthy state and preserve your pearly whites. With regular usage the bristles in the toothbrush get frayed over a period of time and do not clean your teeth as efficiently. It is therefore recommended that you change your toothbrush every three-four months, or earlier if you see the bristles are frayed. In children the toothbrushes may have to be replaced earlier since they might be damaged faster.

Choosing a toothbrush can be quite confusing since they are marketed as hard, medium or soft bristles with different shapes, sizes and colours. Many shoppers will tend to choose the hard-bristled toothbrush with the impression that the harder it is, the better it cleans! But along with removing the plaque on your teeth, the hard bristles also erode your enamel, and can cause gum recession leading to future problems such as sensitivity. So it’s best to reserve the hard and medium ones to clean your jewellery or ceramics!

Always choose a soft toothbrush and do not use excessive force while brushing. You need to brush for at least two minutes and make sure you use the correct technique to clean all the areas of the teeth. If you feel you have not cleaned your teeth well, brush longer but not harder.

You can also use an electric toothbrush, as some of them have a timer and also a sensor that tells you if you are brushing too hard. Electric brushes are also beneficial if you are not aware of the correct technique for brushing.

Another factor in choosing a toothbrush is the size of the 
head. The standard head size 
is ½ inch by 1 inch. While this is comfortable for most adults, if your mouth is small and you find this large, you should choose a toothbrush with a smaller head, or even consider a paediatric toothbrush.

After using your toothbrush, rinse it well to remove any toothpaste, shake off the excess water and then leave it upright to dry, not in contact with any other toothbrush or objects. Do not put it in any container or cover it as this prevents the bristles from drying and bacteria grows in this moist condition.

Brushing alone is not enough to protect your teeth so you should floss daily to clean the surfaces between the teeth.

Choosing the right toothbrush should be a simple task and make brushing an enjoyable experience.

Got a problem?

Email your queries to

Dr Joy Antony

Dr Joy Antony

is CEO of Dr Joy Dental Clinic, which has branches in Jumeirah 04-3285332, Mirdif 04-2845722, BurJuman 04-3555357 and Karama 04-3979522. Website: