Taking care of your toothbrush is an essential step when it comes to taking care of your teeth. Neglecting your toothbrush doesn't help keep your teeth healthy, and it could do them more harm. A toothbrush you keep in good condition will do a better job of cleaning your teeth. Since cleaner teeth lead to healthier teeth, it's to your benefit to take the same care of your toothbrush as you do with your teeth.
Change toothbrushes at least three or four times a year. The American Dental Association points out the bristles of a toothbrush wear down after about three months and won't do a good job at removing plaque from your teeth. If you're an aggressive brusher, you may have to replace your toothbrush sooner. Children usually need to get a new toothbrush more often too.
You'll know it's time for a new toothbrush when the bristles looked frayed. If you need a reminder, buy yourself a toothbrush that changes the color of its bristles when it's time for a replacement.
Rinse your toothbrush under warm tap water after every use. The plaque you remove from your teeth by brushing contains bacteria. Unless you wash your toothbrush, the bacteria may still be there the next time you use it.
Clean your brush thoroughly to get off all the toothpaste and food particles clinging to the bristles.
Rinse a new toothbrush before using it. Since the packaging isn't sterile, even a spanking new brush can come with bacteria already hiding out.
Store your toothbrush in an upright position. Place it in a slotted toothbrush holder or hanging toothbrush rack after each use. Don't put a wet brush in a drawer.
Let your toothbrush air dry. A toothbrush should be completely dry before you use it again.
Using a toothbrush cap isn't a good idea. You may think it protects your brush from germs when it actually does the opposite. Bacteria likes moist places where it can grow. That's why you need to let your toothbrush dry in the open air.
Never let someone else use your toothbrush. Nor should you use someone else's brush.
The mouth provides a dark, moist environment for bacteria to breed. Bacteria and viruses -- some of which are contagious -- can survive on a toothbrush. Some of the bacteria in your mouth get on your toothbrush each time you brush your teeth. This increases the risk for cross infection.
Germs on a toothbrush can even spread gum disease -- a good reason not to share your toothbrush with your child.
Keep germs at bay. Wash your hands with soap and warm water both before and after you brush your teeth. This helps keep germs from spreading from your hands to your toothbrush and then to your mouth.
Although bacteria die once your toothbrush dries after rinsing it, if you have an infectious disease or a low immune system, you should limit the places where germs can harbor.
If you've been sick, don't let the top of the toothpaste tube touch your toothbrush. If you do, you could spread infectious germs to the rest of the family. Illnesses that can be transmitted by saliva put others at risk.
Talk to your dentist, such as David Jackson, DDS, for more information.Share
29 January 2015
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