Your toothbrush should be spending upwards of 24 hours brushing your teeth every year, but what about the other 364 days-worth of time? Brushing your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day is a crucial first step towards maintaining a healthy mouth, but simply brushing is not enough to keep things in tip-top shape. It’s important to consider how your toothbrush is cleaned, stored, and generally looked after. If you’ve never considered how your toothbrush itself needs to be cared for, read on to learn more about what you can be doing to keep your brush—and subsequently, your mouth—clean and happy!
Know When To Say Goodbye
Most of us do not replace our toothbrushes as often as we ought to. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three to four months, and even more often if you’re a firm brusher. Simply disinfecting your brush head with mouthwash or hot water can kill bacteria in the interim, but it is never a replacement for a brand new brush. If your bristles start to look frayed, it’s time to move on.
Keep It Clean
Once you’ve finished brushing, make sure to thoroughly rinse your brush head with tap water to remove any excess toothpaste or other debris. Little remnants left on the brush head are bacterias playground, so it’s best to avoid anything being left behind. Remove as much excess water from the head as possible by shaking it off gently in the sink, and store the toothbrush upright to allow water to drain away from the head. Moisture is another thing bacteria love, so allowing your toothbrush to air dry is important. Avoid keeping your toothbrush in drawers, cabinets, toiletry bags, or capped so that the bristles can dry out between uses. If you use a toothbrush holder that’s shared by a few people, keep the brush heads pointed away from each other between uses to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
Sharing Is Not Caring
The debate among couples and friends has raged for decades over whether or not it’s okay to share a loved one’s toothbrush in a pinch. According to doctors, the debate is firmly settled on the side that says sharing is ill-advised. Because microorganisms and other bacteria live on the head of your toothbrush, it’s best to use a one-per-person policy. Any infections that one brusher has can easily be spread to another through sharing, and it’s particularly dangerous for those who have compromised immune systems, young children, or the elderly.
Keeping your toothbrush fresh and clean is one of many crucial steps towards maintaining optimal oral health. Ensuring that you spend a few extra seconds every day following some of these helpful tips will help keep you on the road to a healthy, happy mouth.
If you have any questions about how to look after your toothbrush, or if you think it’s time for a routine checkup with your dentist, give us a call at Dental Roots in Naperville today!