In truth, the multitude can be grouped into a few basic things to look for. The rest is merely accessorizing.
Dentists recommend softer bristles, as they cause the least amount of damage to your gums. Brushing well and thoroughly will more than compensate for the extra scrubbing power that a harder bristle will give, and your gums stay fresh and whole! It’s also a good idea to look for bristles with rounded ends, for the same reason.
As for bristle design, one school of thought that says that multi-level, angled bristles clean better, but the difference is negligible. Go for whichever design complements your bathroom decor!
Bigger is not better. You need a smaller head size to get into the smaller nooks of your mouth. The back teeth, in particular, are hard to get to. Make sure particularly that children get a head size that suits them. Electric toothbrushes may have an advantage here as they have smaller, rounder heads than most manual ones.
You should change your toothbrush head every two to three months. You can tell when it needs it as the bristles start to spread. At this point, it has lost its effectiveness and constant reuse increases the risk of infection.
This is down to personal choice. There is some evidence that oscillating heads clean more effectively. Electric is probably a better choice for those with mobility issues. However, good old manual brushes have everything you need to do the job well.
The American Dental Association has a testing regime. If your toothbrush is certified, then you know that it’s not going to shed bristles and it will be durable and safe.
It is you that is going to be cleaning your teeth. Don’t get the posh electric one if the vibrations make your mouth feel funny, or if you’re on a tight budget. If you don’t get on with your toothbrushes grip or bristle arrangement, you are less likely to use it, at least as well and as long as you should.
This is particularly true in the case of children. Brushing teeth is so important – make sure that your child is as likely to do it well as possible. Get the cool electric one so they can make robot noises in the bathroom, or the super cute one that has feet that stick to the mirror. Anything that keeps their interest and helps to form good habits that last a lifetime is worth the money.
Having said all of that…
Remember that a toothbrush is not a magic wand. No toothbrush will perform miracles if it is not wielded well. Teeth will not stay pearly white if you smoke and drink coffee all day. Plaque will front its attack and your routine, with flossing and mouthwash included, is more important than the awesome blue stripy bit on the bristles and the bendy neck.
Ask your dentist if you have any doubts about your toothbrush choice. They will always be happy to recommend the right tool for your particular job.