Brushing your teeth at least twice a day has been shown to greatly reduce bacterial loads in the mouth. Studies have found that the bacteria that cause tooth decay begin to adhere to tooth structure after just 12 hours. Brushing disrupts this adhesion, and helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Brushing your tongue also helps to disrupt the bacteria that cause halitosis or bad breath.
Today, both traditional manual tooth brushes and battery operated electric tooth brushes are available. Both can be beneficial, as well as possibly detrimental. For certain people, especially the young and old with poor physical coordination, electric tooth brushes may provide them with a more consistent cleaning. For others, they may find a traditional manual brush better meets their needs.
It should be noted that both types of brushes need to be constantly monitored to ensure excessive pressure is not being used, and that tooth structure and gum tissue is not being worn away. Back-and-forth brushing on the side of a tooth with a manual tooth brush as well as excessive pressure with an electric toothbrush can lead to these issues.
Dr. Victor recommends a soft headed tooth brush that is replaced every six months due to these concerns. A soft headed brush reduces the chance of gum tissue and tooth abrasion and wear. Furthermore, the plasticizers in a tooth brush will leach out over time, causing it to become stiffer. Therefore, replacing the toothbrush or the head of an electric brush every six months will help ensure they do not harden up excessively over time.