The toothbrush has been around for nearly 5,000 years. "Chew sticks," bone, wood, ivory and hog bristles all make up the far-reaching history of this instrument of oral health. The nylon bristled toothbrush that we now use was invented in 1938. Today, battery powered toothbrushes are available in addition to manual toothbrushes.
Both manual and powered toothbrushes can effectively and thoroughly clean teeth. People who have difficulty using a manual toothbrush may find a powered one easier or more comfortable to use. The size and shape of the brush should fit your mouth comfortably, allowing you to reach all areas easily and should have soft nylon bristles that won't hurt gums. Your dentist may offer suggestions about which type is suitable for your needs.
You should change your toothbrush - or brush head - in the case of an electric toothbrush -every three or four months. Bristles that are worn or frayed will not clean your teeth effectively and may also harbor harmful bacteria. However, if you get sick, you will need to replace you toothbrush once the illness has subsided.
No matter what type of toothbrush you choose, the American Dental Association recommends that you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth with floss or an interdental cleaner daily.