May 31, 2021 - minute readminutes read

How to Choose the Right Toothbrush for You

Everyone’s oral health needs are different. Choosing a toothbrush that is right for you can help significantly enhance your oral care experience and contribute to better oral health. Braces, plaque build-up, sensitive teeth? You need a toothbrush that is adapted to your specific needs. Not sure where to start? This page can give you some pointers to help you find the best toothbrush for you.


Why picking the right toothbrush matters

A quality toothbrush is at the core of a good daily dental care routine. Using the right toothbrush will contribute to the most complete dental care and keep your teeth and gums healthy in the long term.

The most important thing to realize is that not all toothbrushes are equal - because different people have different needs and preferences. Everyone has their own focal areas for dental hygiene, and the toothbrush you use should target those specific needs.

Your dentist can advise you on the best tool adapted to your oral condition. But generally speaking, your oral care practitioner may recommend you use a soft-bristled toothbrush for a gentler cleaning.

If you have healthy teeth and gums and you’d like to manage plaque efficiently, you can consider soft bristles with extra-thin tips (tapered) for a deep clean below the gum line and between the teeth.

Identifying the right toothbrush features

When it gets down to choosing between brushes, start by looking at the common features of a toothbrush and why they’re important. Not only will this help you choose the right toothbrush, but it can even help you brush more frequently by making brushing simpler. Consider the following features:

Soft, medium and hard bristles

There are three types of bristles: soft, medium and hard. The choice between soft and medium is often based on personal preference. Oral care professionals recommend the use of soft bristles to gently care for your teeth and gums. On the other hand, hard bristles can damage gum tissue and enamel. Some people with gum sensitivity can benefit from extra-soft bristles, which are gentler on the gums and ideal for sensitive teeth. 

Head size

A toothbrush’s head size should allow you to reach all your teeth while brushing. Most adults achieve good brushing results with a compact toothbrush head (rather than a long one), as it facilitates the handling and control during brushing and reaches your back teeth more easily. Your toothbrush’s head size will also affect handling and maneuverability, allowing for better positioning and control during brushing. When picking a brush, put them side-by-side to see the different sizes. 

Bristle type

Bristle type, or the difference between rounded and thin (tapered) tips, can also play an important role in your toothbrush choice. Extra-thin bristles are cut in a special way and get thinner towards the end to reach deeper between the teeth and under the gum line and provide superior cleaning. Check out some examples, including the GUM SONIC DAILY Battery Toothbrush.

Manual vs. Electric

Many people believe electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque. In reality, both manual and power toothbrushes are effective, as long as your brushing technique is good. The choice between a manual and an electric toothbrush ultimately comes down to your own individual comfort and preference.

Electric toothbrushes are best for people who need a little help brushing thoroughly, or for those with mobility issues (like arthritis) that prevent thorough brushing with a manual toothbrush. Additionally, those with sensitive teeth (or those who brush their teeth too hard, such as those who are stressed or in a hurry) may benefit from specialized electric toothbrush modes that put less pressure on the teeth or ones that visually demonstrate how much pressure you’re putting on your teeth. Our GUM SONIC DAILY Battery Toothbrush for example offers a great compromise between ease of use and efficacy. 

A reminder about toothbrush replacement

A proper toothbrush with all the right features might be great start, but it won’t last forever. Worn-out toothbrushes are less effective [1] at keeping teeth and gums clean. 

How to dispose of a toothbrush

When disposing of a regular, manual toothbrush, you can simply throw the old brush away. Though toothbrush plastic is more difficult to recycle than some other kinds, there are also many options for recycling old toothbrushes. You could also reuse your old toothbrushes for non-dental hygiene-related household chores, such as grout cleaning.

When disposing of a toothbrush with a replaceable battery, be sure to remove the batteries before throwing away the handle. Recycle the batteries at your local battery recycling drop-off site. To find battery drop-off sites near you, check Recycle-more’s where to recycle near me locator. If your toothbrush has a non-removable battery, take the entire handle to your local recycling center.

You should consider replacing your toothbrush approximately every three months or whenever the bristles look worn, splayed or frayed.

During your next dental visit, ask your dentist to recommend a brush for you. Nothing beats a professional recommendation from someone who knows your teeth even better than you do!

Learn more about GUM products and how you can achieve the best at-home oral care possible.


Experts recommend [1] the use of toothbrushes with soft bristles. Stiff bristles can damage your gum tissue and enamel which can potentially lead to bleeding, gum recession and tooth sensitivity. All of our toothbrushes are equipped with gentle bristles, some softer than others to suit special needs. Discover our complete toothbrush range.

What matters most is your brushing technique. So, if you’re a skillful brusher, the difference between the two should be minimal. However, studies show that electric toothbrushes generally achieve better results in terms of plaque removal. That’s because they do most of the work and help compensate for weaknesses in your brushing technique. If you have bleeding or tender gums, or limited dexterity, an electric toothbrush could be a really good solution to help you achieve great results with more ease.


Both are great tools to help optimize your brushing technique and obtain better results. Rechargeable electric toothbrushes are typically more sophisticated in terms of features, for added control and ease when brushing. Battery-powered electric toothbrushes are a great option for travel: they're more compact and don't require you to carry a charger around. If you're on the road a lot, we recommend using GUM SONIC DAILY Battery Tootbrush.

If you choose an electric toothbrush there are a number of features that can make your brushing experience even more effective. Some of the most worthwhile ones include timers and pressure sensors which help you optimise your brushing technique. For people with extra sensitive teeth and/or tender gums, a sensitive mode could be a valuable option. 

The size of the toothbrush head is important for effective brushing. Toothbrush head sizes are typically full, compact or ultra compact. The compact size is ideal for most adults. However, if you have trouble reaching the sides of your back teeth, consider using a toothbrush with a smaller head such as GUM ActiVital.

If you have bleeding or receding gums, this means your gums are inflamed. This could be due to a number of factors, including plaque build-up, vigorous brushing and/or use of a hard brush. Whatever the cause, your gums are going to feel tender, particularly when brushing. We recommend using a brush with very soft bristles, specially designed for brushing with heightened sensitivity. A great option is GUM SensiVital®, designed for gentle and effective plaque removal around the gum line, which is key to help prevent or reduce inflammation.  

If you have plaque build-up on your teeth, look out for toothbrushes with tapered bristles which are specially designed for greater plaque removal. Thanks to their super fine extremities, tapered bristles are particularly gentle and effective at removing plaque around the gum line and between teeth. Even when trying to get rid of plaque, it’s important that you use a brush with soft bristles to avoid damaging delicate gum tissue. Try using GUM SONIC DAILY Battery Toothbrush or GUM Technique® PRO if you prefer a manual brush.

If you have sensitive teeth, it is important to use a toothbrush with ultra soft, tapered bristles for a featherlight touch. These are designed to help you clean effectively without damaging your enamel and reduce any discomfort you might feel while brushing. Check out GUM SensiVital manual toothbrush or GUM SONIC SENSITIVE Battery toothbrush.

It is normal for teeth to become stained over time. Food and drink, smoking and poor oral care are major causes of tooth discolouration. If you want to minimize the effects of your lifestyle on the appearance of your teeth, you could use a toothbrush specially designed for stain removal. GUM Original White features elastomer-coated bristles which are particularly effective at removing stains and plaque, to help you both restore the original whiteness of your teeth and improve your oral health.

During an orthodontic treatment, cleaning your teeth properly is more important than ever as food debris and plaque can build up around the braces. The good news is that there are toothbrushes specially designed to help prevent this. They come with a smaller head with V-shape cut bristles to help you easily clean around wires and brackets. Check out the GUM ORTHO Toothbrush.

It’s important to help children develop good oral care habits from a young age, so choosing a comfortable and easy-to-use toothbrush is key. Children’s toothbrushes usually have a smaller head for easy reach. A built-in suction cup at the base can also be useful as it allows the brush to stand upright to dry off and reduces clutter around the sink. For babies and toddlers, a toothbrush with a longer handle can help parents maintain a good grip while brushing their child’s teeth. Check out our toothbrush range for children.

Still have doubts?

Check here our complete guide to know more about why picking the right toothbrush matters and how to identify the right toothbrush features.

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