As likely the first topic you’d expect to find in a dental health blog, finding the right toothbrush probably doesn’t seem like it deserves a spot at the top of your priority list. Unfortunately, most Americans aren’t using any toothbrush nearly enough, so put the credit card away for now and let’s polish up (pun intended) on the basics of dental hygiene before investing in a new toothbrush.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the consensus is to brush twice a day for a duration of two minutes each time. The ADA also suggests using a brush with soft bristles and replacing the brush every three to four months, or as bristles become visibly frayed or matted. That’s right – no mention of that $250 oscillating five-speed gadget you heard about on TV!

So how well do Americans follow these recommendations?

  • The average American brushes for a total of 45 to 70 seconds per day, according to the Academy of General Dentistry as of 2014. Yes, you calculated correctly: most Americans fall well short of half the recommended daily total.
  • Three out of four millennials only brush once per day (According to Delta Dental in 2018)
  • 42 percent of people do not change their toothbrush every three months (Per Electric Teeth, 2018)

We could go on, but the message is clear: most Americans should worry about following the basic recommendations before comparing toothbrush features.

Hopefully you landed on this page in time to spare you some buyer’s remorse, but wherever you are in the decision-making process, we want to be clear that investing in dental hygiene is always a good decision. The moral of this story is that your investment doesn’t necessarily have to be a financial one. Find a product, a routine, a brushing partner, or whatever will encourage you to brush twice a day for two minutes each time, and don’t forget to replace your brush regularly.

Like most purchasing and healthcare decisions, this turns out to be a personal one. Some people find that investing in a fancy toothbrush provides the incentive they need to keep up the habit (sort of like the financial commitment of a gym membership), while others prefer to save the money and focus on their routine, whether it be setting an alarm or calendar reminders, keeping the toothbrush in plain sight or any tricks that get the job done. There are also some toothbrush companies that focus more on encouraging good habits than on brush technology, like connected brushes or subscription services with three-month refills.

We hope this is a helpful place to start, but don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about best practices and toothbrush recommendations!