When was the last time you went out and splurged on a new toothbrush? Unlike a comfy pair of shoes or that T-shirt you’ve had for twenty years, developing a long-term relationship with your toothbrush is a bad idea.
We think it’s great that you’re proactive with your oral hygiene, and you may be doing everything right. But if you’ve got a toothbrush that’s been sitting around for six months in your germy (no offense) bathroom, we’ve got a reality check for you. That innocent little brush can be a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and fungus. Yes, we said fungus.
Not to mention the fact that those frayed bristles are not a badge of honor – they are simply ineffective at getting the job done. There are no extra points in dental hygiene for having a battle-scarred toothbrush.
Toothbrush Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t Share your Toothbrush: If you would never, ever share your toothbrush, you may find it difficult to believe that some people do. Okay, emergencies do happen – like waking up with horrific morning breath while you’re on vacation only to realize you forgot your toothbrush. “Hey, honey…”
But think about it – when you share a toothbrush, there’s a good chance you’re exchanging bodily fluids, complete with microorganisms that put you both at increased risk for infections. So the habit’s not just gross, it can truly threaten your health.
Do Rinse your Toothbrush Thoroughly: If you’re doing a cursory rinse, you’re not doing enough to keep the brush clean. You certainly don’t want to give bacteria any more opportunity to settle in on your brush, so make sure you do a thorough rinsing job to remove debris and any remaining toothpaste.
Bacteria love moisture, so store your toothbrush upright in an open container so it has an opportunity to dry out thoroughly. A toothbrush holder is ideal, because it keeps your family’s brushes separated so they don’t touch and possibly transfer germs.
Do Not Store your Toothbrush in Closed Containers: Again, your toothbrush needs an opportunity to dry out completely between uses. Storing it in a closed container may seem like a hygienic approach, but it’s probably doing more harm than good. If you’re traveling, by all means store it in a container, but at home, give that little guy a lot of fresh air.
Change your Toothbrush After a Cold or Flu: This one really makes sense if you think about it. If you’ve been sick, germs can hide in the bristles of the brush and potentially lead to reinfection. You don’t want to go through that again, do you?
Replace Your Toothbrush Every Three Months. You already know that raggedy old brush needs the heave-ho. It’s probably doing very little to address your oral hygiene, and really, it’s looking pretty nasty at this stage anyway.
So check your brush often for this type of wear and replace them at least every three months - more often if needed. Your kids’ toothbrushes will probably need to be replaced more frequently than yours. We recommend that you wait until there’s a deal on toothbrushes and go buy up a bunch so you have them on hand.
You are the first line of defense when it comes to your oral health care. But we are here to support your efforts, so give us a call. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment for your next cleaning at our Gasport dental office.