Choosing the right toothbrush comes down to two specifics: what’s recommended, and what’s good for your own mouth.

The Standard Recommendations

Go soft:
Overwhelmingly, soft bristles are better for your teeth and gums. Yes, you can buy medium bristles and stiff bristles, but unless your dentist has recommended that specific type of brush for your mouth, go soft.

Go round:
This confuses a lot of people since the shapes and patterns of bristles are mostly at all sorts of whacky angles. Nothing really appears to be round! What round actually means is that the bristles are “end-rounded,” meaning the rough edges of each bristle have been smoothed out to avoid hurting sensitive gum tissue.

Go for the seal:
The seal of the American Dental Association (ADA), that is. Believe it or not, there aren’t many toothbrushes allowed to display the ADA seal, which certifies the product as safe and will hold up to regular use. As in the bristles won’t fall out and the handle won’t break. This does happen with cheap toothbrushes! Here’s the full list of toothbrushes with the ADA seal.

The Personal Recommendations

Pick the right size:
The head of the toothbrush should fit comfortably in your mouth so you can reach the surface of each tooth (front and back). This includes your back molars too, so if you can’t do this with your current brush, it’s likely too big.

Pick the right handle:
The shape and design of the handle all depends on how you like to hold your toothbrush when you’re brushing. There’s a myriad of ways to hold your brush. A little experimentation here is probably best. Non-slip handles are typically a good jumping off point. Also, most of us hold our toothbrush a bit too aggressively, so the next time you’re in the office, bring your favorite brush with you to the office, and ask your hygienist to help you tweak your grip a bit. Your gums will thank you!

Pick the right bristle shape:
Bristles, bristles, bristles! Oh, so many shapes, angles and colors. Which to pick?! Experts say to pick the one that feels best in your mouth. That’s not much guidance, we know. But the basic idea is that bristle design will feel different to different people depending on how big their teeth are, whether they have a lot of spacing, braces, prosthetics … a million things, really. So, again, “feel” is most important. That’s why these are personal recommendations after all!

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