When it comes to caring for your teeth, you brush at least twice a day and floss (at least occasionally), right? Well, if you are not using a clean tool for cleaning your mouth, then your teeth are not nearly as clean as you think they are! Below are tips for caring for your toothbrush so that it properly cleans your mouth.
- Rinse your toothbrush well. Your toothbrush is designed to loosen and break away plaque from the surfaces of your teeth. While most of this plaque will be expelled when you rinse and spit, some will inevitably become trapped between the bristles of your toothbrush. By rinsing your toothbrush well under fast, running water after each use, you are helping to rinse away lingering plaque.
- Air dry your toothbrush. Plaque is laden with bacteria, and bacteria thrive in moist conditions. Your toothbrush provides the ideal environment for bacteria to grow because of how damp it is after each use. However, by allowing your toothbrush to air dry uncovered and in an upright position, you are limiting the growth of bacteria. If you must cover your toothbrush for travel, make sure that it is completely dry before you pack it away.
- Do not share your toothbrush. Remember, your toothbrush will have some amount of plaque that becomes trapped in the bristles. If you are sharing a toothbrush with someone else, you are willingly putting his or her bacteria-laden plaque into your mouth. Gross.
- Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet. In bathrooms that do not have a door separating the toilet from the rest of the room, it is important to pay attention to where you keep your toothbrush. With every flush of the toilet, there is overspray that enters the air. This overspray contains urine and fecal matter, and it will land on anything in its path. Make sure that is not your toothbrush!
- Replace your toothbrush often. Over time, the tiny amounts of plaque that are left behind on your toothbrush from each use will begin to build up. It is important to replace your toothbrush every 3-6 months so that you have a clean tool for cleaning your mouth. It is no coincidence that your dentist gives you a new toothbrush at each visit.
- Replace your toothbrush after illness. Germs from an illness can linger for 7-10 days. If you have been ill with a cold, strep, the flu, a stomach virus, or another illness, it is important to replace your toothbrush after your symptoms subside. Doing so limits your chance for re-infection.
Posted on behalf of Allen Dentistry