Your toothbrush was designed to be a tool that you use in order to clean your teeth and gums. However, if your toothbrush is not well cared for, then you are simply putting a dirty tool inside your mouth with the intention of it cleaning your mouth. In order to ensure that your toothbrush does its job well, below are simple steps in caring for your toothbrush.
- Rinse your toothbrush well. Your toothbrush helps to clean your teeth by brushing away bacteria-laden plaque that forms on your teeth each day. As it brushes plaque away, some plaque is inevitably trapped in the bristles of your brush. In order to keep the bacteria from growing on your toothbrush, it is necessary to rinse your toothbrush well under fast, running water after each use in order to rinse away as much bacteria as possible.
- Air dry your toothbrush. All bacteria thrive in moist environments, which makes your toothbrush an ideal environment. By storing your toothbrush in an upright position and keeping it uncovered, it will air dry quickly. Air drying your toothbrush eliminates the ideal environment for bacteria to grow. If you must cover your toothbrush for travel, make sure it is completely dry before packing it. Or, better yet, simply keep an extra toothbrush for travel!
- Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet. With every flush of a toilet there is overspray that enters the air. This overspray contains urine and fecal matter, and it will land on anything that is in its path – make sure that is not your toothbrush! If your bathroom does not have a door separating the toilet from the rest of the bathroom, take extreme consideration as to where you store your toothbrush so that it is not in the line of fire from the toilet.
- Do not share your toothbrush. Remember, your toothbrush removes plaque and bacteria from your mouth. It does the same for everyone. Sharing a toothbrush with another person (even a family member) is simply putting their bacteria-laden plaque inside your mouth. Gross!
- Replace your toothbrush often. The American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every 3-6 months. If you have ever wondered why your dentist gives you a new toothbrush at each dental appointment, it is because s/he understands the importance of using a clean tool to clean your mouth.
- Replace your toothbrush after illness. Germs can linger on any surface for longer than a week. If you are ill with a cold, the flu, strep, a stomach bug, or any other illness, it is important to replace your toothbrush in order to avoid getting sick again.
At Smiles by Seese, we want to promote optimal oral health for all of our patients. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment. We will have a new toothbrush ready for you when you get here!