Choose Brush Up
July 2004 Issue
IT'S NOT LOVE, PAT BENATAR; THESE days, the mouth is a battlefield. Gleaming white teeth are society's latest aesthetic and health requirement. But while whitening gels and polishing gadgets have become bathroom mainstays, the most important tool is the original clean-mouth combatant: a good toothbrush. When choosing a brush, here are three factors to consider.
1. Look for soft bristles.Nylon bristles are polished for comfort. Natural bristles "give" more when wet--good news for sensitive gums. Avoid hard bristles, which can damage gums and wear away tooth enamel.
2. Test several shapes and sizes.Your brush should feel comfortable in your hand and allow you to brush gently and at an angle. There is no "right" shape; choose a brush that works for your brushing pattern.
3. Reduce waste.Toothbrushes produce 50 million pounds of waste a year, according to John Lively at Recycline, manufacturers of the recycled-plastic Preserve toothbrush. Other companies, like Radius, make long-lasting brushes from renewable materials. A third option is brushes with replaceable heads, like those from Fuch's, Eco-Dent, and Smile-Brite.