Soft vs Hard Toothbrush: Which One Is Right For You?

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Medically reviewed by Danielle Romatz, RDH

You may think oral hygiene relates to your smile and breath alone. However, your oral health is crucial to your overall systemic health. Gum disease and oral infections can be major risk factors for the development of severe health conditions. That’s why it’s vital to choose an effective toothbrush that suits your needs, preferences, and budget.

Soft bristle toothbrushes are better than hard bristle ones and are recommended by most dentists. Soft bristle toothbrushes effectively clean plaque, debris, and bacteria without damaging teeth. Hard bristle brushes aren’t meant for daily use and are better suited for dentures and removable teeth.

So, is the best option to always opt for soft bristle toothbrushes? The answer might surprise you! Let’s look at everything you need to know about hard and soft bristle toothbrushes.

Key Differences Between Soft and Hard Toothbrushes

Dental equipment

Choosing a toothbrush mostly comes down to personal preference. There are a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and bristle types available. Despite the color not having much effect on your dental hygiene, the bristle type surely will.

The bristles on a toothbrush are what keep your teeth clean and protected, so it’s crucial you choose wisely.

Hard Toothbrushes Can Damage Teeth

You would think harder and stiffer toothbrush bristles would be better at removing plaque buildup, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. The biggest advantage to hard and medium bristle products is that they last longer.

Besides that, firm and stiff bristles put your teeth’s enamel at risk. Your enamel is what protects your teeth from bacteria and damage. When your enamel is damaged or eroded, you’re more at risk for plaque build-up and gum damage.

What Makes Soft Bristle Toothbrushes Better

Typically, soft bristle toothbrushes are the preferred recommendation from dentists and enthusiasts. Nearly everyone can benefit from switching to a soft bristle toothbrush, as they cause less damage to teeth.

Soft bristle toothbrushes are excellent at removing plaque, bacteria, and residue without damaging your teeth. Hard bristle toothbrushes can be harder on your enamel and even damage your gums. With soft bristle toothbrushes, you don’t have to worry about these risks.

Best Soft Toothbrushes on The Market

two electric blue toothbrushes on bright pink background

Choosing the perfect toothbrush doesn’t end at the color or shade. Modern toothbrushes have a wide variety of features, specifications, and differences. This makes finding a suitable toothbrush challenging.

But when it’s all said and done, the best toothbrush is the one you want to use. Here are some of our top recommendations for 2022.

Oral-B Genius X Electric Toothbrush: The High-Tech Option

The Oral-B Genius X (on Amazon) is closer to an Apple Watch than a toothbrush. This high-tech, expert-backed toothbrush uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone. The Oral-B delivers personalized coaching to ensure you’re caring for your teeth in the best possible way.

Using the Bluetooth-connected app, you’ll receive notifications in real-time. The Oral-B Genius X will inform you whether you’re pressing too hard, if you need more time, or about areas that need more attention.

The Oral-B has six cleaning modes, including options for sensitive mouths and gums. With a powered handle, three brush heads, a charge, and a travel case, you’ll be ready to tackle any buildup and debris.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300: The Classic

The Phillips Sonicare DiamondClean (on Amazon) is a classic brush and recommendation. This toothbrush features five cleaning modes with three levels of intensity. The smart sensor offers real-time feedback and tracking.

The DiamondClean’s automatic pairing modes allow you to sync your toothbrush with the optimal brushing pattern. The powered handle, glass charger, travel case, three brush heads, and tongue brush will have you covered from top to bottom.

Dental Expert Charcoal Toothbrush: Our Budget Pick

If you’re on a budget, look no further than the Dental Expert Charcoal Toothbrush (on Amazon). For under $10, you can improve your oral hygiene by a substantial amount. The Charcoal Toothbrush features long, soft, and durable bristles.

The built-in charcoal properties enable this brush to fight plaque, buildup, and bacteria all throughout your mouth. Dental Expert’s Charcoal Toothbrush may lack some of the bells and whistles of other products, but it still gets the job done with ease.

iO Series 9 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush: For Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth and gums aren’t anything to scoff at and should be taken seriously. That’s where toothbrushes like the Oral-B iO Series 9 (on Amazon) come in. With the Oral-B app, you can track your brushing habits and receive real-time coaching.

This brush comes with seven modes, including sensitive and super-sensitive features. The pressure sensor is in place to protect your gums and enamel, while the built-in timer helps you stay focused. Although the Oral-B iO Series 9 is best suited for sensitive teeth, that doesn’t stop it from effectively fighting plaque, debris, and bacteria.

Shyn Sonic Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush: Subscription Model

Our top subscription-based toothbrush is the Shyn Sonic Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush (on Amazon). Subscription toothbrush services are a recent creation. These services allow you to receive high-quality heads and bristles at a consistent rate.

The Shyn Sonic achieves over 31,000 brush strokes per minute, giving you a deep clean every time you brush. The five intensity levels, four cleaning modes, pressure sensor, and timer are features of the toothbrush.

If you opt for the subscription plan, you can receive a replacement toothbrush every three months at a fraction of the cost.

Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Connected Rechargeable Toothbrush

The Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum ToothBrush (on Amazon) is best suited for fighting plaque and hard-to-reach jobs. The Sonicare comes with a lot of the same features as previously listed models: Bluetooth technology, free apps, smart sensors, real-time feedback, etc.

What separates the Flexcare from its contemporaries is the vibration speed. This toothbrush vibrates back and forth at nearly 20,000 cycles per second. With such a high frequency, the Sonicare blasts through plaque and debris with ease.

When you combine this speed with the different brush-heads, intensity settings, travel case, and other features, you have an extremely versatile device.

Rotadent Contour: For Receding Gums and Sensitivity

Receding gums, sensitivity, and general discomfort are not fun problems to have. Thankfully, solutions like the Rotadent Contour (on Amazon) exist. The 360-degree rotation and ultra-thin microfilament bristle tips allow this brush to reach challenging areas other models struggle with.

The Contour claims it can remove up to 92% of plaque in just one minute of brushing! While the Rotadent Contour lacks some of the glitz and glamor of other models, the incredibly gentle bristles are perfect for receding gums and sensitive teeth.

Philips One by Sonicare: For Travelers

You may not want to risk losing your $200 toothbrush in customs. Using a one-time-use disposable toothbrush may not be an appealing solution either. That’s where affordable travel-friendly toothbrushes like the Philips One (on Amazon) come into play.

The soft nylon bristles use micro-vibrations to gently remove plaque, debris, and bacteria. You can use the two-minute timer to stay focused and in control.

The Philips One’s greatest selling features are its lightweight design, dependable battery life, and portable travel case.

This toothbrush makes the perfect travel companion or budget toothbrush for just under $25.

Philips Sonicare For Kids Power Toothbrush: For Kids

Getting your children to brush their teeth in the mornings can be headache-inducing to say the least. Who can blame them? Kids’ toothbrushes are often mediocre and lack essential features.

Thankfully, the Philips Sonicare for Kids (on Amazon) solves this problem with ease.

This toothbrush comes with removable stickers, allowing your children to personalize their devices. The “kidpacer” music alerts will guide your child through the brushing process, resulting in more effective dental hygiene.

With the free interactive Bluetooth app, you and your children will track their progress and learn how to brush their teeth the right way. Although the Philips Sonicare for Kids is designed for a younger audience, they haven’t skipped out on necessary features even adults approve of.

Waterpik Sonic-Fusion 2.0 Profesional Electric Toothbrush and Water Flosser Combo

If you’re searching for the perfect combination device, look no further than the Waterpik Water Flosser (on Amazon). The Waterpik is a cult favorite, providing the best features of toothbrushes and flossers in one device.

This product has three modes, two brush speeds, built-in timers, pressure settings, and more.

The Waterpik claims to be twice as effective as traditional brushing and flossing. Although this device takes up a substantial amount of counter space, the Waterpik Water Flosser Combo is an excellent two-in-one device.

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