A good oral hygiene plays the most important role in taking care of your pearly whites. But to keep your teeth healthy for longer, you also have to do proper care and maintenance of one of the tools that helps you do so – your toothbrush.
Here are some general considerations on how to take care of your favorite oral hygiene buddy, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).
NEVER Share Your Toothbrush with Anyone.
The oral cavity is loaded with millions of microorganisms that may potentially cause infections, both oral and systemic. And these could be transferred to your toothbrush during use.
Sharing your toothbrush with anyone results in the exchange of these microorganisms between users, putting everyone at risk for infections. But individuals with compromised or weakened immune systems or have existing infections are at greater risk.
Rinse Your Toothbrush Thoroughly After Every Use.
Rinse your toothbrush under running water after brushing to wash off any remaining toothpaste and other debris.
Some individuals soak their toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash, while others use commercially-available sanitizing solutions for toothbrushes. Both methods are acceptable. A dishwasher may also be used, but not for long periods.
Allow Your Toothbrush to air-dry After Rinsing.
Put your toothbrush in an upright position and let it air-dry until your next use. If two or more toothbrushes are stored in the same holder, keep them apart to prevent cross-contamination.
Avoid storing your toothbrush in closed containers. A closed container provides moist environment which is conducive for growth of microorganisms.
Use Proper Brushing Techniques.
How well you care for your toothbrush is just as important as the care you give your teeth. When you brush, do it gently using short strokes instead of long, hard strokes. Vigorous brushing makes the bristles get worn easily.
Replace Your Toothbrush Every 3 to 4 Months.
Even if you follow all the tips given above, they would still be useless if you don’t replace your toothbrush on a regular basis.
The ADA recommends getting a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or as soon as the bristles start to look worn and discolored from everyday use. Worn toothbrushes clean much less effectively, particularly on areas where plaque accumulates the most – underneath the gums and in between the teeth.
Now, the rates at which toothbrushes wear out depend on factors unique to every individual.
Check your toothbrush regularly, look out for signs of wear, and replace as needed. Even if you don’t see any obvious signs of wear and tear, you still need to change your toothbrush regularly because they often have microorganisms which can build up to significant levels over time.
Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced more frequently than adult brushes. Also, you may have to replace your toothbrush much sooner if you get colds or other viral infection.
But no matter how often you get a new toothbrush, replacing them ensures that you have a clean, efficient brush that will optimally clean your teeth and provide you with a healthy smile for life.