Soft, medium or hard toothbrush: which one to choose?

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Toothbrush manufacturers usually offer models with three levels of hardness: soft, medium and hard. It is up to you to choose the hardness of your toothbrush bristles. But beware, not all brushes are created equal. The UFSBD (Union Française pour la Santé Bucco-Dentaire) even recommends one type of toothbrush that ensures good oral health. Here is a short guide to help you make the right choice for you based on the different types of toothbrushes. 

The different types of toothbrushes

The soft toothbrush

This toothbrush has 20/100ths of a millimetre diameter bristles. They are much less aggressive than those of medium or hard toothbrushes. They allow you to brush your teeth gently. In addition, they do not attack the tooth enamel. In addition, they can be easily inserted into areas that are difficult to brush and prone to tooth decay, such as the interdental spaces. The price of a soft bristle toothbrush is usually between €1.57 and €52.70.

Medium toothbrush


This toothbrush has bristles with a diameter of 20 to 25/100 mm. These are the most common toothbrushes on the market. The bristles of the medium toothbrush are slightly thicker than those of the soft toothbrush. If you do not have any dental or gum problems, you can use this type of toothbrush. It will clean your teeth thoroughly but a little harder than the soft toothbrush. The price of a medium bristle toothbrush is usually between € 0.65 and € 71.20.

The hard toothbrush


Hard bristle toothbrushes are very rough toothbrushes that can be particularly painful to brush with. Brushing with a hard toothbrush two to three times a day is very hard on the gums. It leads to bleeding, pain, shrinkage and even sensitivity problems because the tooth is no longer protected as much by the gums that are supposed to cover it. The price of a hard bristle toothbrush is usually between €0.65 and €124.99.

The main advantages of a soft toothbrush

A soft-bristled toothbrush has many advantages:

  • Soft bristles bend to the shape of your teeth
  • The softness of the bristles also prevents damage to the teeth or gums.
  • It perfectly preserves the enamel of the teeth
  • It removes impurities and plaque from the teeth 

The Y-Brush toothbrush is a toothbrush with soft but very fine bristles. Its main advantage is that it brushes from everywhere and all sides at the same time. It is also practical if you have braces such as wires or braces. In fact, it even brushes under the wire of a dental appliance such as a retainer or braces. It is a toothbrush made in France for which the after sales service is fast and personalized. You can therefore have it delivered anywhere in France. The shipment is made in only 1 working day.

The main disadvantages of the medium or hard toothbrush 

These toothbrushes have many disadvantages:

  • The bristles will not bend and fail to clean in the hollows.
  • It leads to a risk of abrasion of the tooth enamel
  • It attacks the gums and teeth
  • It leads to tooth loosening

Toothbrushes with medium and hard bristles are not recommended 

The survey conducted by the UFSBD between 2017 and 2018 reveals that 38% of French people prefer to brush their teeth with a hard or medium brush. This percentage rises to 41% in the under 30s. There is a common misconception that rigorous tooth brushing will whiten teeth better. This is not true.

In its report, the UFSBD strongly advises against hard or medium bristle toothbrushes. The fact is that the bristles of the brush, if it is not soft enough, will attack the tooth enamel. Together with vigorous tooth brushing and abrasive toothpaste, this type of brush will weaken the tooth enamel.

These bristles also attack the gums. Those with sensitive gums risk bleeding and irritation. In the long run, this will lead to gum disease such as infection in the oral cavity and gingivitis.

Favouring a soft-bristled toothbrush

The French Union for Oral Health recommends the use of a soft bristle toothbrush for adults. This will be less aggressive to the enamel and gums while ensuring good dental hygiene. With the right movements, this type of soft brush can effectively remove food residues between the interdental spaces, tooth decay, dental plaque and tartar.

A model with a synthetic bristle brush head is also recommended by dentists. It retains its softness when wet and remains aseptic. A toothbrush with animal floss or bamboo bristles will soften in moisture and become a breeding ground for bacteria.

The smaller the brush head, the better. The smaller the brush head, the better, because the head can reach hard-to-reach areas better. This explains the very small, round brush heads on some electric toothbrushes. In addition, brushes with different lengths of bristles should be preferred. They reach the tooth spaces better and improve the quality of brushing. 

For children, it is also important to choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. This will not damage their tooth enamel and will protect their gums. The brush should be small so that the toothpaste can be dosed much more easily. They can use a Y-Brush toothpaste tube which comes with an applicator to apply the right amount of toothpaste.

Always use the right technique

Choosing a soft toothbrush, manual or electric, is not enough to ensure good oral hygiene. It is also important to adopt the right habits and know how to brush your teeth properly. Holding the handle to move back and forth horizontally is unnecessary. Instead, small circular movements should be made over the entire dentition.

To take care of your teeth, you should brush them at least two to three times a day after each meal. Brushing takes three minutes and should cover all teeth, from molars to incisors to canines. Using dental floss, interdental brushes, whitening gum and other accessories and whitening products can be a great way to keep your teeth healthy and bright. 

We hope this guide has helped you understand that the soft bristle toothbrush is the one that will keep your gums and teeth healthy. It is the only toothbrush that allows you to maintain good oral hygiene at all times.

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