In this case, “extra” isn’t necessarily better.
Trust, improper brushing, especially with harder bristles, can erode enamel and promote receding gums and tooth sensitivity, says Dr Ada Cooper, a consumer advisor with the American Dental Association.
But going too soft is bad, too, because you may leave plaque behind. To confuse matters further, there’s no industry-wide labelling requirements for sitffness, so “firm” and “soft” are arbitrary anyway.
Rather than worry about bristle hardness, dentist Dr Debbie Ong 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, as this increases brushing efficiency. (Also check out 6 Ways You Are Brushing Your Teeth Wrongly.)
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 and1cm wide.
Change those mouth scrubbers regularly for maximum cleaning efficacy. “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 percent more effectively than a worn out one, she says, and frayed bristles can even be a haven for bacteria build-up.