Help Your Toothbrush Do Its Job
From childhood, we’re taught to brush regularly using the proper technique. Our elders assure us that if we do, we’ll have nice white teeth and avoid cavities, gum disease, and other oral problems.
But there’s a catch to that. Your toothbrush can’t help you practice effective oral hygiene if it’s not hygienic itself, or if it’s undergone any sort of damage or deterioration that gets in the way of it doing its job.
Here, then, is some advice on how to keep a toothbrush in good condition.
Keep Your Toothbrush Clean
If your toothbrush isn’t clean itself, it’s not likely to do an effective job cleaning the surfaces of your teeth. That means you need to keep it clean between one use and the next.
Moisture is the enemy here. You got the bristles of the toothbrush wet when you used it, and that moisture can foster the growth of harmful bacteria.
Accordingly, you need to help the toothbrush dry out. Store it upright (as they are commonly stored in the toothbrush holder mounted on the wall of many bathrooms), and that will facilitate the moisture draining away. Also, make sure you’re storing the toothbrush in a place with decent airflow. Airflow likewise facilitates the drying process.
Don’t use a toothbrush head cover. This has the opposite effect of providing for airflow. The head cover holds moisture in. Similarly, don’t store your toothbrush in any sort of drawer or cabinet. It will dry out better out in the open, perhaps on a shelf beside the sink.
You should also take care to avoid contamination. We don’t like to think about it, but nasty material including bacteria comes up into the air every time we flush the toilet. Store your toothbrush at least three feet away from the toilet to keep any of that stuff from landing on the bristles. If you store it in a holder with other people’s brushes, do so in a way that your bristles aren’t touching their bristles. If someone else has some sort of contagious oral problem, you don’t watch to catch it too.
Don’t Share a Toothbrush
As you can imagine, if letting the bristles of your toothbrush touch the bristles of someone else’s is a bad idea, then so is two people sharing a toothbrush and for the same reason. You’ll end up with the other person’s mouth bacteria. As an alternative to borrowing a toothbrush at need, consider keeping an extra at work or sticking one in your bag. That way, you won’t need to borrow.
Get a New Toothbrush When It’s Time
You may have heard tricks for extending the lifespan of a toothbrush. Some thrifty souls disinfect them with alcohol or mouthwash or even run them through the dishwasher.
The problem is that disinfecting or washing them may get rid of bacteria lurking in the bristles, but it can’t do anything to strengthen the bristles. The bristles inevitably weaken as you use the toothbrush over time, and once they do, the toothbrush isn’t cleaning effectively.
Which is to say, a toothbrush is worn out after about 90 days. Instead of trying to keep it alive, bite the bullet and buy a new one. Your mouth will be cleaner if you do.
If you have questions about toothbrushes or any aspect of oral hygiene, or if you’re in need of any form of dental care, we invite you to contact us at Comfort Care Family Dental. We’ll be happy to assist you.