Every time you visit the dentist you receive a new toothbrush, but do you know why? Your dentist understands that in order to clean your mouth properly you need a clean tool to use. However, taking care of your toothbrush between dental visits is also important.
Think about this, millions of bacteria live inside your mouth on any given day. You use your toothbrush to help brush these bacteria away, many of which become trapped in the bristles of your toothbrush. While rinsing your toothbrush off after each use is important and will help to wash away many of the bacteria, the truth is that many will still linger. Toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for germs, bacteria, and fungus – and you certainly do not want to put a dirty one into your mouth!
After each use, it is always important to rinse your toothbrush off under running water to help rinse away lingering food particles, plaque, and bacteria. Once it has been rinsed off well, shake it vigorously and place it in an upright position to allow it to air out quickly. Damp places are ideal for bacterial growth, so eliminating the damp atmosphere of your toothbrush quickly will help ward off an increase in bacteria.
It is also important to remember that you need to replace your toothbrush (or your child’s toothbrush) after illness. Germs from a cold, virus, the flu, a mouth infection, or strep throat can linger for weeks. Many people re-infect themselves with an illness after they have gotten well by using a toothbrush that is coated in sickly germs.
Another thing to consider is how often and how vigorously you use your toothbrush. Those who use their toothbrush at least twice a day generally need to replace their toothbrush after three months. Once the bristles of a toothbrush begin to wear down, they are much less effective at removing plaque and food particles, and they are not as effective at reaching the tricky angles of the teeth.
Protecting your toothbrush while traveling is also something to remember. Placing a cover over the head of your toothbrush will help it not become flattened or squashed while it is packed away in your bag.
At Group Health Dental, we encourage you to set a reminder to replace your toothbrush every 3-6 months. If you should forget, we will have one waiting for you at your next appointment!