Soft vs. Hard Toothbrush: Which Would You Choose?

Toothbrushes have come a long way in the last century since they have been introduced to the world. In fact, some of the earliest methods of brushing teeth, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), involved rubbing small tree twigs against one’s teeth to get rid of food and other pieces from their mouth. Later on, the process of brushing had evolved in which bristles made from boar’s hair were introduced. And then finally in the 1930s, DuPont de Nemours introduced nylon-bristled toothbrushes which people use even to this day.


These days, people have a lot of options when it comes to toothbrushes because there are various types of brushes available at retail and online stores. But when it comes to choosing between soft and hard-bristled toothbrushes, dentists recommend the former ones on different dental blog. Below, are the common reasons why this is so:

While hard bristles are relatively more effective at removing plaque and stain, they tend to do more harm to your tooth and root enamel. In case you don’t know, enamel is the shiny hard white area of your tooth that protects the inner softer layers. Enamel is essential for guarding your teeth against harmful bacteria.

If the enamel wears away, it will cause numerous painful symptoms such as yellowness, tooth sensitivity and uneven rough edges on your teeth once the inner layers are exposed. Soft-bristled brushes on the other hand not only gets rid of bacteria but also ensures that your enamel doesn’t wither away.

  • They Can Guard Your Gums

Apart from damaging the enamel, hard-bristled brushes can also wreak havoc on your gums by causing them to recede. If or when this happens, the root surface of your tooth is exposed, which may not only cause you to experience sensitivity but also increase your risk of developing cavities in those areas. This is due to the fact that the root does not have a protective enamel layer.

If gum recession persists or gets bad enough, the bone that supports your teeth can be severely damaged and you may slowly lose it over time. But if the recession gets really bad, then you could be at the risk of losing your teeth. Yes, it is THAT bad! If this isn’t enough to throw your medium or hard-bristled brush to the bin, we don’t know what else will.

  • They Are Just As Effective In Cleaning As The Hard Ones

You may not believe it but soft toothbrushes are actually just as effective in cleaning your teeth as the hard ones. In fact, if soft bristles can’t remove the plaque on your teeth, then chances are that hard bristles might have a rough time with it as well.

If you’re struggling to get your teeth cleaned with a soft toothbrush, then it might be time for you to work on your brushing technique. In order to clean your teeth and gums more effectively, your toothbrush’s bristles should be angled towards the gum line and then use circular, gentler and massaging strokes to get rid of plaque. Instead of hard pressure, be more gentle because that’s all that is required to remove bacteria, plaque and food particles.

To be frank, it is more about the time you spent to brush each area of the mouth rather than how much pressure is applied. This is because harder brushing pressure can cause most of the problems that result from using medium or hard-bristled toothbrushes.

Interestingly, even though dentists recommend toothbrushes with soft bristles, more than half of the Australian population buy medium or half-bristled toothbrushes.

  • They May Not Last Long, But…

If there is one thing that soft-bristle brushes lack from their harder counterparts, it is endurance. Some people often find that soft-bristled brushes begin to wither away faster than hard brushes. But even if that is the case, it is nothing more than a minor setback to the long-term effectiveness and benefits that soft-bristled brushes provide us with.

If anything, you should adopt the habit of changing your soft-bristled brush every 3 to 4 months. That’s because if you keep using the same brush over and over, you will likely accumulate more bacteria in the process. Also, because bent and fraying bristled toothbrushes won’t be as effective in getting your mouth like the ones that are in perfect condition.

The Final Decision

At this point, it basically goes without saying that soft-bristled toothbrushes are indeed the ideal teeth and gum-cleaning utensil for the reasons described above. Though, to be honest, there are some who may prefer more firm bristles. However, the fact that they ruin your teeth’s enamel and gums are perhaps the biggest reason why dentists strictly advise patients not to use them.

If there is one silver lining to using hard brushes is that they are slightly more effective in removing plaque, which is still not enough to look past their usual flaws.

Soft vs. Hard Toothbrush

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