Soft vs Hard Bristle Toothbrush

By March 12, 2015Dental Tips

Why are there so many types of toothbrushes to choose from?

Long, short, narrow, wide, flat, bumpy, jagged, curved neck, straight neck, in your choice of pink, blue or white… Regardless of the color, each of these many options has a variety of bristle options, ranging from soft to hard. WHY?! If harder is better who is buying all the soft ones? If soft is better, why buy hard and wear it down over 6 months getting it to the perfect softness just before throwing it out?

If you are still wondering which is better in the epic battle of soft vs hard bristle toothbrush, the popular winner is hard… The right answer is soft.

Stiff bristle toothbrushes remind people of the other stiff brushes they use for cleaning:

  • Wire brush for cleaning the grill
  • Stiff plastic brush for cleaning grout in tile floors and showers
  • Toilet bowl cleaners for scrubbing porcelain

Naturally, we think that scrubbing something clean takes pressure, strong bristles and the correct detergent. The difference is that your teeth aren’t made of steel, grout or porcelain, they are living parts of our bodies and damage much more easily than man made materials. Using a stiff toothbrush and applying pressure can damage the enamel on your teeth, hurt your gums and even damage the roots of your teeth.

When you’re ready to buy your next toothbrush, what you really ought to be looking for is a brush that will fit comfortably into your mouth and reach all the way to the back of your molars without causing discomfort (if you are uncomfortable brushing with a pink toothbrush, you should take that into consideration as well) and if you’re not sure what will fit, we can recommend a style that will work for your mouth at your next visit. Once you know the size, shape and color, make sure its bristles are:

Which to pick, soft vs hard bristle toothbrush

  • Soft
  • Round tipped
  • Made of nylon

Nylon is a sturdy, yet pliable, synthetic material that will be gentle on your teeth and gums, more so if the tips of the bristles are rounded.

The point with brushing is not to scrape your teeth clean the way you would scour a dirty pan, it is to gently polish and massage the toothpaste into the teeth and gums. Pushing too hard will force the bristles to bend and you will be left scraping at your teeth with the stems of the bristles instead of an impenetrable wall of rounded bristles. It doesn’t take many instances of over brushing to ruin a good toothbrush, your enamel, your gums and the roots of your teeth. Once those barriers are breached, your brushing may simply push plaque deeper into the teeth gums and roots, which can lead to many dental emergencies down the road.

Be sure to practice proper brushing technique with the correct toothbrush, we’re excited to see how you’re doing at your next visit.



Image Source: Flickr-