Most of us fondly imagine our toothbrush is wonderfully clean and hygienic, as after all it goes in our mouth at least twice a day. But is it really that pristine? Unfortunately the answer is probably not, as toothbrushes can easily become contaminated with oral bacteria, and even worse, some of these nasties can live for weeks on a nice damp brush. Even normal bacteria could cause infections if they get into the bloodstream through bleeding gums or perhaps a mouth ulcer. Toothbrushes aren’t necessarily sold in sterile packaging, so there’s also the risk they could have bacteria even before you begin to use them. So how can you look after your brush and protect your oral and overall health?
Keeping It Clean
It’s actually pretty easy to keep your toothbrush decently clean. Straight after using it and give it a thorough rinse with tap water to remove any loose particles of food and old toothpaste. If you have any illnesses or infections, then soaking it in antibacterial mouthwash could help. In addition, it’s possible to buy toothbrush sanitizers that use ultraviolet light to kill off bacteria, although it’s best to check with your dentist at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center as to whether they think this is worthwhile.
Once you’ve cleaned your brush then make sure you store it properly. Don’t stick it in a drawer or bathroom cabinet where it can’t dry properly. Instead, place it upright in a position where air can circulate freely so it can dry as quickly as possible. This will help limit the amount of contamination on your brush. If it’s in a toothbrush holder with other toothbrushes, make sure they don’t touch as this is an easy way to transmit bacteria.
Knowing When to Change It
Your toothbrush will need replacing every three months or more frequently if you noticed the bristles begin to look splayed out and worn. A good quality toothbrush is so cheap anyway it will be pointless to try to economize on something so basic. If you use an electric toothbrush it’s possible it will have built-in wear indicators that show when the brush needs changing.
Never Ever Share with Others
If you live in a household where you generally share everything, make sure this doesn’t apply to your toothbrush. Most people are unaware tooth decay and gum disease is infectious, and sharing your toothbrush is an excellent way to transmit these bacteria. It’s worth chucking away your toothbrush if you ever suspect somebody has used it by mistake.
Keeping your brush clean is only one part of the equation, as actually using it properly is vitally important. If brushing your teeth is something you do without thinking, it’s possible your routine could do with a bit of help. Ask your hygienist at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center for tips on improving your brushing regime, and they’ll also be able to point out areas you might be missing. This is also a great opportunity to ask about flossing, as many people find this task tricky, or even downright impossible to do properly. We can show you a few tips and tricks to help get your flossing up to speed.
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