A large component of proper oral health care is taking good care of our toothbrush. If we neglect this important aspect of oral health care, we could be doing our teeth more harm than good. It is not difficult to care for our toothbrush, but its importance should be heavily weighted in our daily oral hygiene routine in order to enhance our oral health and to eliminate the risk of disease and decay in our mouth.
Change your Toothbrush
Think back to the last time that a toothbrush was replaced. If it was so long ago that the date cannot be remembered, then it should be changed today! The American Dental Association recommends changing toothbrushes out for a new one every 3 to 4 months or sooner if we have had any type of contagious illness during that time or if our toothbrush looks damaged. Even a toothbrush that has minor damage or fraying could offer a less effective cleaning, putting our teeth at risk for decay or worse yet, gum disease.
Storing your Toothbrush
How we care for our toothbrush after using it also plays an important role in our oral health care. After brushing, take the time to thoroughly rinse the brush of all toothpaste and debris that was removed from the mouth. This eliminates the risk of bacteria growing on the bristles while the brush remains unused. In addition, make sure that the brush is stored upright in an open area. Keeping a toothbrush closed up allows bacteria and even mold to grow on it. If family member’s toothbrushes are stored near one another’s toothbrush, make sure that they are not touching to avoid cross-contamination.
Avoid Sharing Toothbrushes
Even when we are in a bind, it is important to avoid sharing toothbrushes with anyone. There are thousands of bacteria that live inside a person’s mouth, which are easily transported to our mouths if we were to use someone else’s toothbrush. When we are unable to get to our toothbrush, we are better off rinsing our mouth out with water or mouthwash until we can get our own toothbrush.
When we take the time to care for our toothbrush, we are giving our oral health the boost that it needs. It does not take a lot of effort to care for our brush, but its efforts will greatly pay off in the long run.