Did you know that replacing your tooth brush a couple of times a year can help prevent damage to your gum tissue? It might seem like a waste of time or money, but it is a small price to pay for having good oral hygiene.

That being said, there are a number of factors to consider when you’re at the store walking down the dental hygiene aisle. You shouldn’t simply pick up whatever is on sale that day or matches the décor in your bathroom. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Go for Soft, Gentle Bristles

Buying a new toothbrush or changing your flossing routine can cause your gums to bleed. However, if you’re experiencing bleeding gums on a regular basis, it could be a sign that your toothbrush is doing more harm than good. You should elect to use a toothbrush with soft bristles that won’t cause swelling or irritation. Make sure you’re not brushing too hard as it may cause your gums to recede over time. Bleeding gums can also be a sign of gingivitis or diabetes, so if the problem persists, book an appointment with your dentist right away.

Switch to a Powered Toothbrush

Most dental specialists will tell you that a powered tooth brush isn’t any more effective than a regular toothbrush. However, it does give some patients an incentive to brush, as it does most of the “heavy lifting” for you.  Consider using a powered toothbrush if it will help you stick with your oral care routine or provide you with more comfort. There are additional factors that could make this a more suitable option for you, like your age or any special health conditions (i.e. arthritis).

Consider the Shape and Size

Whether you’re buying a toothbrush for yourself or a loved one, you will want to keep the shape, size, and ease of use in mind. As an example, it’s often easier for children to use a toothbrush that has a larger handle and smaller head. Your goal is to find a toothbrush that works well and feels comfortable so that daily brushing doesn’t begin to seem like a chore. Even more importantly, you want to make sure the one you choose can fit in all those hard-to-reach places and give your mouth a proper cleaning.

Choose Quality Over Cost

It may be tempting to buy the first $0.99 toothbrush you see on the shelf, but we can assure you this is not a safe or healthy option. It’s not uncommon for people to use these cheap toothbrushes on occasion, like when they’re traveling or staying in a hotel, but they are not meant for long-term use. They are not as effective as the name brands and are often associated with certain health risks given the low quality of materials used to make them. Choose one from a reputable manufacturer so you never have to worry about the safety or durability of a tool that is meant to protect your health. The difference of a few dollars could save you from investing more money into dental problems that could arise down the road.

When you ignore the wear and tear on your toothbrush, it ultimately becomes a dull and ineffective tool. You should not only put thought into the type of the toothbrush you buy, but also be mindful of how often you are replacing it. Taking a few extra steps to protect your teeth and gums can have serious long-term benefits on the state of your overall oral health. If you are struggling with bleeding gums and your toothbrush doesn’t seem to be the root of the problem, it is important that you consult with your dentist as soon as possible.