What is a Soft Toothbrush?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A soft toothbrush is a kind of toothbrush that is made with flexible, soft bristles. It is common for people to use this kind of toothbrush as a way to deal with sensitive gums. There are a number of kinds of bristles that are used in toothbrushes that range from hard, to medium, to soft, and extra soft. Extra soft toothbrushes, which are sometimes referred to as "super soft" or "ultra soft," are made out of the softest kind of bristles that are available in toothbrush manufacturing.

Soft bristles are usually considered the best for a toothbrush.
Soft bristles are usually considered the best for a toothbrush.

A person who has sensitive teeth and gums might choose to use a soft toothbrush along with toothpaste for sensitive teeth. These kinds of products can help those who have generally sensitive teeth and gums or those who are experiencing some kind of dental pain. The softer bristles help to clean the teeth without causing irritation or additional pain to the teeth and gums. Some people find that firmer bristles cause their gums to swell, bleed, or ache. In addition to using these kinds of tools, it is also important to consult a dentist about any tooth pain or tooth problems, as they may be indications of serious dental issues.

Higher grade electric toothbrushes provide heads with a variety of bristle types.
Higher grade electric toothbrushes provide heads with a variety of bristle types.

People who are experiencing dental pain are not the only people who use toothbrushes with soft bristles. A soft toothbrush is sometimes the choice of a person who is not experiencing any dental pain at all. Dentists have varying opinions on the ideal firmness of toothbrush bristles, but there are some who say that soft bristles are the best. The thinking behind this is that a soft toothbrush is made with very flexible bristles, which are more likely to be able to bend and reach into the various nooks and crannies within the teeth. The flexibility and softness of these sorts of bristles, therefore, can lead to cleaner and healthier teeth.

Some dentists believe soft toothbrush bristles are the best.
Some dentists believe soft toothbrush bristles are the best.

There are a number of kinds of toothbrushes that are made with soft bristles. There are disposable soft toothbrushes and there are also soft toothbrush heads for electric toothbrushes. One can also find a soft toothbrush that is designed to be used as a part of a travel toiletry kit. When choosing a toothbrush, for home or for travel, it is best to discuss bristle firmness with one's dentist. Depending on one's specific dental needs and oral hygiene needs, a dentist may recommend a soft toothbrush or a toothbrush that is made with slightly firmer bristles.

Soft toothbrushes are recommended for people experience dental pain.
Soft toothbrushes are recommended for people experience dental pain.
A soft toothbrush is often part of a travel toiletry kit.
A soft toothbrush is often part of a travel toiletry kit.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments

anon936458

I like a medium brush. I haven't used a hard brush in years, so I can't comment on how a hard brush works for me. But I can comment on how after recently trying a soft brush I was left with a nasty slimy film on my teeth in less then a week's time. And yes I was brushing correctly. Also, I brush three or four times a day, sometimes more depending on what I eat.

I brush first thing in the morning to freshen my mouth before I eat breakfast; then again after I eat breakfast; then later in the day, if I eat something and feel like I need to remove its remains from my teeth, I brush again; and I definitely brush after dinner and before bed; so I brush three or four or more times a day.

My gums are not all that sensitive, unless a piece of food becomes stuck between my teeth; then I floss or use a plastic pick to remove it. And in my adult life, since I learned to like toothpaste, which is for the last 30 years, I have had less then a half dozen small cavities. I did have some caps done to replace some old cavities. I didn't brush well as a kid because I hated toothpaste. Now I know it's really the brushing that removes the food and until my kids could tolerate toothpaste, I let them brush without it. They have had very few cavities and I admit we love our sweets.

StormyKnight

@dill1971: You might try a soft electric toothbrush since you have sensitive gums.

Also, the right toothpaste is essential. Cheapest is not always best. The type of toothpaste you use can affect how clean you can get your teeth. Read the labels on the types of toothpaste you choose, from whichever brand, and pick the most appealing to your needs. With a good toothbrush and the right toothpaste to match it, these two factors should get your teeth cleaner, healthier, and pearly white.

chrisinbama

@dill1971: You may consider getting a different toothbrush. Perhaps, a hard or medium toothbrush will suit you. Seeing as how you mentioned you didn’t feel like your teeth were clean enough, you may want to try a hard toothbrush. However, a hard toothbrush may be too much for your sensitive gums.

If you have healthy, strong teeth and you’re a health junkie when it comes to your mouth, a hard toothbrush may be a reasonable option for you. Hard toothbrushes definitely get the job done, and will leave for teeth feeling fresh.

dill1971

I am currently using a soft toothbrush and I’m not exactly pleased with how it is working. I feel like my teeth aren’t nearly as clean as they could be. However, I have somewhat sensitive gums. What should I change?

momothree

Soft toothbrushes are commonly used for people with sensitive gums or dental problems. However, it you don’t have those issues, soft tooth brushes may not be for you. Many people find that soft tooth brushes aren’t durable or heavy duty enough. In other words, soft tooth brushes may not always get the job done. They sometimes leave residue behind because the brush isn’t strong enough to clean teeth, depending on your preference.

You may find that a soft toothbrush is satisfying for your likings, but there are always other choices.

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