Small, round toothbrush heads best for cleaning ‘hard to reach’ places

Fitness & Health:

When it comes to oral hygiene many of us are well versed on the fact we need to regularly clean and floss our teeth. Neglecting this can lead to problems such as tooth decay, cavities and gum disease among others. However, the specific type of toothbrush you use could actually play a role in the overall health of your mouth.

Two dentists spoke exclusively with about the pros and cons of different types of brushes.

Both said a small round-headed brush was good for cleaning “difficult to reach areas”.

Clinical director and lead dentist at Paste Dental, Doctor Alan Clarke, explained: “Different shapes will suit different individuals depending on their oral health needs and personal preference.


“Generally a small toothbrush head with a compact shape is best for cleaning around the gum line and around difficult to reach areas at the back of the mouth.

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“Round brush heads are usually found on electric toothbrushes.

“As dentists we really love electric brushes as these round heads are designed to rotate and oscillate which is amazing at removing plaque and food particles, often more effectively than by using a manual toothbrush.

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“Round heads are also smaller so better to access difficult to reach areas or around orthodontic braces.”

However, he warned: “Sometimes a round head is more gentle than the harsh bristles of some manual brushes, but likewise it may be seen as too aggressive on inflamed or tender gums.


“If someone has an acute dental issue often we recommend people resort to a soft gentle manual brush in order to give the gums a chance to heal, free from further irritation or trauma.”

When asked about the best type of brush Doctor Safa Al-Naher, founder and principal dentist at Serene in London, said it must be “small enough” to get the “hard to reach” places in the mouth.

“So for example, right at the back of the mouth, to brush your wisdom teeth, and it’s got to be comfortable to use,” she said.

“Pros of a round shaped head are it’s quite small, so it can go right to the back of the mouth.

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“There aren’t really many cons, apart from the movement.

“So for some people it works really well, round heads tend to oscillate, so for some people that works really well, but if you don’t use it properly, there is a tendency to cause some recession.”

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Both agreed toothbrushes with oval shaped heads also had their advantages.

“Pros are the movement using sound waves to vibrate apart the plaque and it can cover more teeth at once,” Dr Al-Naher said.

And Dr Clarke said: “An oval shaped brush can sometimes feel like it is cleaning better than a round head, because of its size and ability to easily reach the back of your mouth in one scrubbing movement – be careful though as excess scrubbing force can actually damage your teeth and irritate your gums- you have been warned.

“Oval heads can often be shaped or tapered to contact the gum area as well as the surface of the tooth. If you can clean the one to two millimetres at or below the gum line with the toothbrush bristles, a flushing of bacteria occurs which is so key in helping reduce gingival inflammation and aid on your way to recovery from bleeding gums.”

He also stressed the importance of cleaning between the teeth.

Dr Clarke added: “Twice daily brushing is vital, flossing or interdental cleaning is as vital, if not more important than regular toothbrush usage – bet you didn’t realise that!”

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