There are many benefits of good oral hygiene. If your mouth is in good health, you can eat food properly, feel good about the way you look, and often feel better overall. That is why dentists spend so much time teaching patients how to brush, floss and rinse their teeth. It is crucial to keep tartar and plaque off your teeth, and to keep your gums strong.
One incredibly strong ally in the fight against tooth decay is the simple toothbrush. Believe it or not, the toothbrush is your friend in keeping your mouth healthy. Use your toothbrush properly several times a day, floss regularly, keep your dental appointments, and you will be well on your way to having a great smile. If you are not sure about the type of toothbrush that is best for you, or how to brush properly, just ask your dental hygienist for some helpful tips.
Remember that your toothbrush will only last so long, which makes it important to change your toothbrush regularly. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends replacing toothbrushes every three to four months, depending on several factors. If the bristles are worn, they won’t be able to do their job of removing food particles and plaque, so you might even need to replace your brush more often.
If you wait too long to change your toothbrush, you might also be exposing yourself to unnecessary health problems. According to research compiled by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, there can be as many as 1.2 million bacteria living on a single toothbrush. These germs could be exposing you to E. coli, the flu or strep virus, staph bacteria, and yeast fungus. If your immune system is already compromised, you can become sick by putting that germy toothbrush in your mouth.
When Is It Time to Get A New Toothbrush?
Under normal conditions, we recommend changing your toothbrush in accordance with the ADA guidelines, but here are a few instances when you should change your brush more often:
- Look for wear and tear on the bristles: Regularly inspect the bristles on your toothbrush to look for normal wear and tear. If they look worn or frayed, it is time to get a new brush. The cost of a new toothbrush is minimal and is one of the best investments you can make in your health.
- Has someone in the house been sick? If you have been sick, it is probably a good idea to change your toothbrush. Germs from a cold or the flu, a sore throat or strep throat, canker sores or an oral infection can linger on the bristles and might prolong the length of your illness. If your family stores their toothbrushes next to each other, you might just need to replace them all when someone has been sick.
- General cleanliness: There are many recommendations for optimal brush maintenance which most people don’t realize or don’t follow. Even if you have not been sick, this makes it possible for bacteria and fungus to accumulate in the bristles, which leads to less effective brushing. Some tips for better toothbrush care include:
- Rinse your brush thoroughly after brushing or soak it in an antibacterial mouth rinse or hydrogen peroxide.
- Never share toothbrushes with others.
- Store your toothbrushes in an upright position.
- Let your toothbrushes dry out in the open air, but avoid keeping them near the toilet.
- Don’t use your toothbrush when it is wet.
Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3608.