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Unless you’ve got gums built like an armoured tank, you’re better off sticking with softer bristles, advises dentist Dr Debbie Ong. “Hard bristles will provide a greater scrubbing effect as compared to soft, but excessive abrasion can cause gum recession and can lead to sensitive teeth,” she says.
Rather than worrying about bristle hardness, she advocates selecting the right kind of toothbrush. “There is no one type of brush that is the best,” she says, but try these tips to pick the right one: Get a toothbrush with bristles that are very close together (multi-tufted), as this increases brushing efficiency. Select a brush head small enough to reach difficult areas such as the teeth at the back of your mouth – a rough gauge would be a head 2-2.5cm long and 1cm wide.
For maximum cleaning effect, you’ll need to change those mouth scrubbers regularly. “Replace your toothbrush after about three months or as soon as the bristles start to flare out,” advises Dr Ong. A new toothbrush can remove plaque up to 30 per cent more effectively than a worn out one, she says, and frayed bristles can even be a haven for bacteria build-up.