You probably know that in order to take care of your teeth, you should brush them at least once a day and preferably twice a day. Brushing your teeth removes food particles and plaque that can cause tooth decay and cavities. It also helps to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
You know how to use your toothbrush to take care of your teeth, but do you know how to take care of your toothbrush? You probably don’t think much about it. You apply toothpaste, you brush your teeth, you rinse it off, and you put it in a toothbrush holder or cup beside the sink. But is that all you should be doing to make sure your toothbrush is clean?
Over time a toothbrush will wear out and become dirty from repeated use. But there are steps you can take to make sure you aren’t brushing your teeth with a dirty, germy toothbrush each day. Here are the top 3 ways to take care of your toothbrush.
- Dry it off. You probably rinse your toothbrush off with water after you use it. Then maybe you set it in a toothbrush holder or a cup on your bathroom counter. Some people set it on the edge of the sink with the brush head hanging over the edge so that it can drip dry.
While these habits may be better than putting a wet toothbrush in a drawer or another closed off space, your toothbrush may stay wet for hours before it dries. A toothbrush that has been in your mouth is likely covered in bacteria. Combine that with constantly damp bristles and you’ve created an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
Instead, make a point to dry your toothbrush off on a towel before setting it out in the open where it can get plenty of air to fully dry. This reduces the amount of bacteria that will grow between the bristles on the brush head and prevent mold or mildew growth that could make you sick.
- Replace it regularly. How often do you replace your toothbrush? Every 6 months when you go to the dentist and receive a new one? That’s the typical behavior for most people. But if you don’t go to the dentist regularly, you may go even longer without replacing your toothbrush. After repeated use the bristles will bend and wear out. It will also accumulate bacteria over time that may populate on your toothbrush head.
For best results, it is recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. This means that if you’re receiving them from your dentist, you may need to buy one in between your usual dental appointments every 6 months.
- Don’t share it. This may seem like a no-brainer, but some people regularly share toothbrushes, either knowingly or unknowingly. Couples who live together will sometimes share a toothbrush. In other situations someone might accidentally use someone else’s toothbrush due to a mix-up in the bathroom, such as siblings who can’t remember whose toothbrush is whose.
The problem with sharing toothbrushes is that different people have different bacteria populations living in their mouths. While a healthy amount of bacteria is normal, mixing the bacteria that typically lives in your mouth with the bacteria from someone else’s mouth could be problematic. Sometimes brushing causes bleeding, which means that by using someone else’s toothbrush, you could be exposed to bloodstream diseases the other person may have. Viruses can also be passed from sharing a toothbrush, like colds, flu, or even COVID-19.
The bottom line: keep your toothbrush to yourself.
Maintain a Cleaner Mouth with the Help of Dental Associates of Farmington, CT
Keeping your toothbrush clean will help to keep your mouth clean. But regular teeth cleanings from Dental Associates of Farmington, CT is just as important for your dental health. We provide a complete range of dental services to maintain and restore your smile.