What is the Best Toothbrush?

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— Families ask dental professionals like ourselves this question all the time. We found our answers evolve over the years.

As a pediatric dentist who has been practicing for over 30 years, the most common concern voiced to me by caregivers of patients is the challenge in getting their child to effectively brush their teeth. With preventative oral care being critically important, this is definitely a cause for concern.

Since I always reiterate how important it is to brush the teeth properly, patients tend to see it as an expected lecture, which can lessen its impact. As a result, the brushing behavior doesn’t change. This is why my thought process on educating families about this important task has evolved over the years.

Are electric toothbrushes always the answer?

Families ask me to recommend the best toothbrush all the time. And while my response to that question has evolved as I’ve seen products come and go, human behavior hasn’t changed that much. The fact remains that brushing one’s teeth correctly is still considered a nuisance required on daily to-do lists. This is especially true for kids, who don’t understand the importance of it as much as adults, yet have to face-off with this challenging task twice a day on their own.

As for the question about the best toothbrush, thirty years ago I would explain that there are a lot of new technologies and if a manual brush isn’t working for you, perhaps a power brush would work. That said, for the best results, electric brushes still require kids to correctly position the moving bristles.

Since that’s a lot to explain, my recommendation has evolved into the advice that the best toothbrush is the one that you use. This is true because if a child or an adult doesn’t regularly brush their teeth, they will not effectively remove the plaque from the teeth, which will result in poor overall oral health.

Do brushing techniques matter?

As time has gone on, and as we see the results of children and adults now using products that are technically more capable of removing plaque, it’s somewhat surprising that we really haven’t seen a significant improvement in oral health. 

That shows us that clinical testing that proves the efficacy of these products doesn’t necessarily result in better oral health unless people use the products, well, correctly. The fact remains: even manual brushes work when used correctly. This just goes to show that the most important components are actually brushing the teeth for two minutes per day while using a technique that removes the plaque without being so rough as to cause damage to the gums.

Let Willo do the work.

I am excited about the development of the automated toothbrush in the form of Willo. This product offers the opportunity to finally correct the centuries-long problem of humans incorrectly brushing their teeth. It removes human error by correctly positioning the bristles, and by automating the correct movement of the bristles. Simply by pushing a button, people can achieve the needed results on a routine and regular basis.  

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