Kimberley Lloyd-Rees asks: “Just a toothbrush?”

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Kimberley Lloyd-Rees: Your toothbrush keeps your smile for life

A healthy smile starts in childhood, but keeping it requires an effective oral hygiene regime. Toothbrushing twice a day is the foundation of good oral hygiene. The humble toothbrush is a powerful tool for reducing preventable dental disease, but, like any tool, it must also be used properly.

A 2018 study looked at weaknesses in brushing performance for two cohorts of young adults, who were asked to brush their teeth, to the best of their ability, in front of a camera.

When the videos were analysed, it was encouraging that both groups spent a lot of time brushing (over three minutes) but for the majority of participants, brushing wasn’t “even”, or efficient. Scrubbing vigorously rather than gentle, controlled movements was common, as was the widespread neglect of lateral and proximal surfaces.

These surfaces are where caries are most likely to manifest, and these areas must also be cleaned thoroughly to reduce the risk of periodontal conditions. Conversely over-zealous brushing can eventually lead to dental abrasion, increased recession, and dental sensitivity.

Good news! Significantly improving your toothbrushing technique is achievable, with just a few changes. Using the right tool will encourage correct grip and support the gentle, efficient application of the brush head around the mouth to clean debris away. This might be the perfect time to take a closer look at the toothbrush you use.

We have been using increasingly sophisticated implements for cleaning our teeth for millennia but the first mass-produced brush was invented by an Englishman called William Addis in the 1780s. After World War II, American soldiers bought home the practise of using a toothbrush with nylon bristles on a daily basis, which soon spread across the US. Bristles, or filaments, are mostly still nylon, which has the advantage of being strong and flexible.

Now, there are plenty of manual toothbrushes available, and oral health practitioners can direct their patients to the most suitable choice, which should also be complemented with interdental cleaning for maximum impact. Interdental brushes are easy to use, and come in a range of sizes to fit comfortably into different spaces between the teeth.

Toothbrushes must never be shared and need to be regularly changed, which means they must be disposed of. Those who want to avoid plastic might prefer to use a toothbrush made from biodegradable materials as far as possible, and now there are a selection of high-quality natural alternatives available.

If a toothbrush has a wooden handle, for example, it should be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, which indicates that the material has come from a well-managed forest and/or recycled source. Some companies are now committed to using these kinds of sustainable materials, also sustainable energy sources in their manufacturing processes, to reduce their carbon footprint.

TANDEX, the Denmark-based producer of premium oral-hygiene aids, has launched the WOODI interdental brush range, a high-quality, functional product with a handle made from FSC-certified birchwood, manufactured in a factory that relies on solar power.

Toothbrushing is part of everyone’s routine. But it must be done correctly using the best tools. The latest WOODI brushes from TANDEX will help protect the environment as well as oral health. For a familiar item that has been around for centuries, this is a very modern upgrade.


Kimberly Lloyd-Rees was writing on behalf of Tandex. For more information about the TANDEX range of products, visit, or go to the Facebook page: