If you were a fan of the TV sitcom Home Improvement, you’re familiar with the lead character’s constant desire for “more power!” While this might be a good thing with some power tools, it is not necessarily a good thing with a toothbrush.
If you are using a manual toothbrush, I recommend you hold it with your finger tips. If you hold it in your closed fist you will naturally be inclined to brush with greater force. Using a light fingertip grip encourages you to have an overall lighter brushing force. Remember, we are only trying to brush away plaque that has the consistency of jello.
The manual toothbrush has been around for a long time. I remember seeing Napoleon’s toothbrush displayed at the Musée de l’Armé when I was visiting Paris. His was made with horse hair bristles. Horse hair and pig hair bristles have been largely replaced by nylon bristles in modern toothbrushes.
Early in my career, I did a short stint in a practice in Evanston where they were still having their patients use pig bristle tooth brushes. The bristles were so stiff they did more damage than good to the teeth and gums.
Electric power toothbrushes are a relatively new invention. They have proven to be beneficial in disrupting the plaque buildup on our patients teeth. Some of our patients have shown marked improvement in their oral health after using a power toothbrush. Once again the important thing is that the bristles of the brush actually contact the surfaces of the tooth, but not too hard. My staff often tell patients to hold it like your playing the flute.
My best advice is to be thorough, but gentle with any tooth brush you use.