You’ve probably purchased hundreds of toothbrushes in your life, but how much thought do you put into buying a toothbrush? Most people glance at the enormous number of styles on display, and—after a moment of toothbrush overload—randomly grab one and head for the checkout. Other people buy the same toothbrush they’ve been buying since the Clinton administration.

When buying a toothbrush, there are so many variables and so many questions to ask. What size and shape should the toothbrush head be? What should the bristles be made from? Should they be soft or hard? What size and shape is best for the handle? Should it be bamboo or plastic? Which is better, a manual or electric toothbrush?

Since it’s unlikely you’re asking all these questions each time you shop for a toothbrush, here are a few simple suggestions that will put you—and even your kids—on the road to finding the perfect toothbrush:

Electric is better than manual. Whether they’re oscillating, vibrating, rotating, sonic, or ultrasonic, electric toothbrushes clean a little more thoroughly than manual brushes. They also have timers to ensure that you’re brushing long enough, various brushing modes and brush heads, and may include Bluetooth connectivity and apps that make certain you’re brushing every tooth for the appropriate length of time. The downside is that electrics are pricier than manual brushes. Prices range from $35 for the most basic, to around $200 for one with all the bells, whistles, and connectivity.

Soft bristles are better than hard. It seems counterintuitive, since we usually use stiff-bristled brushes for household cleaning. However, you’re brushing your teeth’s delicate enamel, not scrubbing grout. Softer bristles can get in places thicker bristles can’t, they gently massage the gums, and they won’t wear and damage tooth enamel.

Curaprox makes both manual and sonic toothbrushes, with not only ultra-soft filaments, but with thousands more filaments than ordinary brushes. A standard toothbrush has between 500-1,000 filaments. The Curaprox Black Is White toothbrush contains 5,100 filaments which are gentle on teeth and gums, but tough on plaque.

Use what feels best. Mouths and hands come in all different sizes. While electric toothbrush attachment heads are one-size-fits-all, it’s still important to find an electric that is comfortable to hold. When buying a manual brush, experiment. Determine whether the brush is comfortably reaching all your teeth and your entire gum line, and analyze how the brush feels in your hand.

Electrify your kids. Being relatively new to brushing, kids don’t really know the amount of pressure they should be applying to teeth and gums, how long they should spend brushing, or how to get in between teeth. An electric toothbrush designed for youngsters can help, and kids usually find electric toothbrushes more fun, so brushing won’t be a chore. As with adults, be sure the toothbrush fits your child’s mouth and hand comfortably.

If you have a history of randomly plucking a toothbrush off the rack, using it for two years, and then repeating the process, it may be time to start looking for a toothbrush which meets your varied and specific needs. Since it’s recommended that a toothbrush be replaced every three months, you’ll have four opportunities per year to find one that fits you perfectly.