Of course, toothbrushes can’t talk. But if they could, they’d have a lot to say about how they should be cared for. Having a clean toothbrush is important to both your dental health and your overall health. Here are 5 tips to help keep your toothbrush clean and your mouth healthy.
1. “Keep me at least 6 feet away from the toilet, because… ewww!”
The last place you want germs from the toilet is on your toothbrush. But when you flush, germs become airborne and land on whatever is nearby. Try to keep your toothbrush at least 6’ away from the toilet; if you can’t do that, put it behind the closed door of a closet or medicine chest. Closing the lid when you flush will help keep germs contained, as well.
To keep your toothbrush clean, you can soak it in alcohol or mouthwash. Another option is to dip it in boiling water for 10 seconds.
2. “Don’t put a cap on me or store me in a closed container.”
You would think this is a good idea, but in reality, it’s not. If the bristles on your toothbrush aren’t exposed to the air and have an opportunity to dry out between uses, they can become a breeding ground for germs and fungus. So rinse your brush thoroughly after every use and store it – cap-free – in a place where it can a good supply of fresh air.
3. “Replace me every 3 months. I won’t mind.”
Toothbrushes really do have a shelf life. Once they’re used, they should be changed every three months. Why? Studies show that after three months of normal wear and tear, toothbrushes are much less effective at removing plaque from teeth and gums compared to new ones. The bristles break down and lose their effectiveness in getting to all those tricky corners around your teeth.
You should also change your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold, the flu, a mouth infection, or a sore throat. That’s because germs can hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to reinfection.
But don’t just throw away your old toothbrush – recycle it! Use it to clean small hard-to-reach places around the home, like tile grout, toasters and electric can openers, hairbrushes and combs – even under your fingernails or on the soles of your shoes!
4. “Share your toys, not me.”
Knowing that germs love to call toothbrushes home, it just stands to reason that toothbrushes are not something that should be shared. Brushing your teeth – especially if you’re an “aggressive tooth brusher” or frequently forget to floss – can open up areas on your gums, making it easy for germs to make their way into your body.
Not only that, germs can spread from one toothbrush just by coming in contact with another one. For that reason, keep your toothbrush in a separate holder with plenty of space between it and its closest neighbor.
5. “I like being a real softie.”
Studies have shown that soft-bristled toothbrushes clean teeth just as well as hard- or stiff-bristled brushes do, but minimize wear and tear on your gums and teeth. Depending on the strength of your teeth and how vigorously you brush them, medium- and hard-bristled brushes could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel. For even more tooth protection when you brush, be sure the bristles on your toothbrush have rounded tips (like the ones on all American Dental Association approved toothbrushes).
6. “Trust your smile to Walbridge Dental.”
Okay, we threw in one extra – but your toothbrush would tell you this, too, if it could. The professionals at Walbridge Dental have the answers. From routine cleaning and exams to advanced restorative treatments, we offer complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.
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