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Toothbrush Design | Which is Best?

Posted in Dental Care, General Dentistry, and Pediatric Dental

Deciding Which is Best?

With hundreds of toothbrush designs on the market it may be difficult to pick one. Which is best? This post is designed to help you understand the differences. Although they are all effective, there are some small advantages to a few unique designs. In this post we discuss just eight of the most common toothbrushes (4 power toothbrushes and 4 manual toothbrushes).

Studies About Toothbrush Design

Studies have proven that toothbrush head design as well as proper brushing technique together can be very effective in removing plaque. One such study that focused on toothbrush head designs concluded that the extended or multi-leveled bristles worked the best. Another study proved that V-shaped bristles preformed better than flat or planar brushes in efficiency. One patented design uses Crisscross bristles that are angled in opposing directions. That design also was proven more effective in removal of plaque short term. Yet another study discovered that hard bristles clean plaque better but cause more soft tissue damage than softer bristles.

Another Level of Options

Power brushes add another level of options to the already diverse design field. They have options in the way they move. For example, there is side to side action, counter-oscillation, rotation-oscillation, circular and ultrasonic. One unbiased study clams the rotation and oscillating brushes are more effective than the side-to-side brushes. Again, this was only “short term” results. In other words, they all had excellent results if the user spends the full two minutes brushing as recommended.

Toothbrush Design Arm & Hammer
Power Toothbrush Arm & Hammer Sonic (top)
Power Toothbrush Arm & Hammer Sonic (side)
Toothbrush Design Oral-B
Power Toothbrush Oral-B Pulsar (top)
Power Toothbrush Oral-B Pulsar (side)
Toothbrush Design Sonicare
Power Toothbrush Sonicare Elite (top)
Power Toothbrush Sonicare Elite (side)
Power Toothbrush Oral-B Power Stage 3 (top)
Power Toothbrush Oral-B Power Stage 3 (side)
Toothbrush Design Biotene
Manual Toothbrush Biotene (top)
Manual Toothbrush Biotene (side)
Manual Toothbrush Oral-B Stages (top)
Manual Toothbrush Oral-B Stages (side)
Manual Toothbrush Oral-B Advantage Plus (top)
Manual Toothbrush Oral-B Advantage Plus (side)
Toothbrush Design Butler Gum
Manual Toothbrush Butler Gum (top)
Manual Toothbrush Butler Gum (side)

Research and images of toothbrush heads from the Catalogue of Toothbrush Head Designs – Journal of Dental Hygiene (

What About Bristles?

Other researchers focused on toothbrush bristles themselves. Specifically, characteristics known to contribute to their safety and efficacy, such as number of tufts, number of bristles per tuft, bristle diameter, bristle shape and surface characteristics of the bristles. Materials commonly used for bristles can also very in effectiveness and safety. Most bristles are made of nylon. The shape of the end of the bristles is important as sharp ended ones can cut or damage soft tissue. Safe bristles under a microscope have rounded surfaces that remove plaque without causing harm. This is why toothbrush heads need to be replaced as they wear as surface shapes can change. Some bristles are more durable than others. Of the eight ones in the images all were very similar in safety, effectiveness, and quality.

Which is Best?

Each of the eight brushes featured in this blog have their own patents, advantages, and disadvantages. It would be nice if they could all get together and combine all their strengths to make one super toothbrush design. Unfortunately, they are in competition, and all have what they feel is the best option. Therefore, it is up to you to decide what features you like the best and chose your toothbrush accordingly. You can be confident, they all work! If you spend at least two minutes, twice each day brushing and flossing, and see your dentist regularly, you will have good oral health.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.