We use a toothbrush morning and night, and sometimes between meals, to help us achieve a sparkling, clean smile. This vital cavity-fighting tool is our best defense against tooth decay and gum disease, but did you know that your toothbrush could be harboring a plethora of germs? This dental care device is not meant to last forever. If you have been using the same tool to brush your pearly whites for several months, now is the time to change it.
The American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush or electric brush head every three to four months, or sooner if bristles begin to fray. It also is important to swap out your toothbrush after recovering from an illness, such as a cold or the flu. When you are sick, and brush your teeth, germs end up on your toothbrush. Stop the spread of lingering bacteria by starting with a new toothbrush that is clean and fresh.
Properly storing and caring for your dental tool is equally important to your oral health. Bacteria particles accumulate on your brush, which negatively impacts your body. After you have brushed your teeth, rinse off the toothpaste from your brush with water, tap it to shake off the excess water and place it upright in an open container so that it can dry. Do not place a cap over your toothbrush or store it in a closed cabinet. A wet toothbrush is the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Ventilation is key.
Do not share a toothbrush with members of your household or anyone else. Your mouth is filled with harmful bacteria. Sharing a toothbrush leads to cross-contamination of microorganisms that increase the risk of infections. In this case, not sharing is caring. If someone uses your toothbrush by mistake, switch it for a new one.
Need some ways to help you remember to change your toothbrush? Set an alarm on your phone, write down a reminder in your planner, or simply observe the bristles on your brush. If your bristles look frazzled and bent out of shape, it is time to invest in a new toothbrush. Oral hygiene tools that are updated often can keep our teeth healthy.
– Dr. Scott Merritt founded BridgeMill Dentistry in 2002. The office is located on Sixes Road between Ridge and Bells Ferry roads.