The toothbrush is an oral hygiene instrument used to clean the teeth and gums that consists of a head of tightly clustered bristles mounted on a handle, which facilitates the cleansing of hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Toothpaste, which often contains fluoride, is commonly used in conjunction with a toothbrush to increase the effectiveness of tooth brushing. Toothbrushes are available with different bristle textures, sizes and forms. Most dentists recommend using a toothbrush labelled 'soft', since hard bristled toothbrushes can damage tooth enamel and irritate the gums. Toothbrushes have usually been made from synthetic fibers since they were originally developed,[clarification needed] although animal bristles are still sometimes used.
Contributions by Ohnoitsjamie, Bob Castle, and 123tenten.