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Soft or Hard Bristle Toothbrush: What’s the Difference?

If you don’t think toothbrushes have come a long way over the years, just take a stroll down the right aisle at your local department store to get an idea of all the options that are available. There’s a lot of them today, but in the not too distant past, there were only two main types of toothbrushes: soft bristled ones and hard bristled ones. Here’s a quick look at the difference between these two types of toothbrushes:


These are by far the most popular type of toothbrush sold today. They’re easy on the teeth – especially if you have sensitive teeth and gums – while still effectively cleaning them. Soft-bristled toothbrushes also come in various different varieties, from medium softness to extra softness. The toothbrush that you choose largely depends on how sensitive your teeth are. For instance, if they’re very sensitive, you’re best selecting one with softer bristles.


You’ll be hard pressed to find a hard bristle, or firm bristled, brush these days. Many of the major toothbrush and dental brands don’t even make them anymore. This is largely because the hard bristles, combined with how hard some people pressed while brushing, actually wound up doing more harm than good to the teeth. Hard bristled toothbrushes were known to help strip enamel, aid in gum recession and just make for a more uncomfortable brushing experience. The lone benefit of hard bristle brushes is that there were able to do a slightly better job of cleaning the teeth – but certainly not a good enough job to warrant regular use.

So what can you do if you prefer a firmer toothbrush bristle? We’d recommend you stick with a soft bristle toothbrush with medium or low softness to avoid damage to your teeth. Another option is to switch to using an electric toothbrush, which generally offers a better cleaning than a conventional toothbrush.

For more information on the difference between soft and hard bristle toothbrushes, and which type of toothbrush is best for you, contact us today.