Hard, Soft, or Extra Soft Bristles: Which Type is Best for Your Teeth?

Most dentists recommend soft bristle toothbrush because it ensures a thorough plaque removal and minimizes the risk of receding gums. But how should we define the right kind of “soft,” given the wide selection of toothbrush types available in the market?

The answer varies from person to person. Some things to be considered are your oral care needs, hygiene practices, and the advice of your trusted dental health professional. Generally, good bristles should have these qualities, as promoted by the American Dental Association (ADA):

  • Free from sharp, jagged edges or endpoints
  • Will not fall out with normal use

Widely recommended: soft bristle toothbrush

Our gums and teeth enamel are sensitive and prone to wearing out over time, especially with excessive scrubbing. Soft bristle brushes are popular because they are strong enough to sweep away food particles yet gentle enough to keep the gums from bleeding.

Soft bristles are typically made from nylon that you can easily bend with your finger. They are less dense than those on hard bristle brushes, which may require more pressure in order to reach between spaces of your teeth.

Great for sensitive teeth: extra soft bristle toothbrush

Extra soft bristles are finer to the touch and has thinner nylon fibers. They are almost as fine as human hair with unevenly trimmed tips. The extra soft bristle toothbrush is designed this way to give superior comfort for people with gum disease.

Extra soft bristle bamboo toothbrush

Angled, thin fibers are able to reach every corner of your mouth and bend effortlessly without putting too much strain on your teeth. This lessens the risk of scraping off your tooth enamel or causing lesions on your gums, making this toothbrush ideal for sensitive teeth.

The lesser choice: hard bristle toothbrush

Dentists will not likely recommend firm-bristled toothbrush because of its harmful effect on your oral health after prolonged use. Hard bristles are said to be more effective in removing biofilms or microorganisms on the surface of your teeth. But they grate your enamel at the same time and cause gingival recession, a condition where the gum line recedes and exposes the roots of your teeth.

Ultimately, a licensed dental specialist is still the best person to ask about the ideal bristle type for you. Just remember to practice proper brushing technique all the time. Avoid vigorous horizontal scrubbing, and do gentle sweeps instead. Even the softest bristles can do harm if you put too much pressure on your teeth.


MOUTHFUL strives to promote better understanding of sustainable dental health and oral hygiene practices. While we seek credible sources and cite them in our posts, this article does not intend to stand as professional advice. Please reach out to your dentist or a medical expert if you have questions regarding a health condition or treatment.

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