You probably know how important it is to take care of your teeth by brushing them twice a day. But did you know that it is also important to take care of your toothbrush? A clean, properly functioning toothbrush is crucial to maintaining your dental health. If the bristles are bent or it stays wet all the time, it won’t be able to do its job, which is removing food residue and plaque from your teeth.
Here are 3 ways to take care of your toothbrush so that it can clean your teeth effectively.
- Store it properly. Where and how you store your toothbrush plays a big part in keeping it clean and in good condition. Always rinse it thoroughly after use. Be sure to store it with the handle down in an appropriate toothbrush holder or cup (not the same cup you drink from). The head of the toothbrush needs to get plenty of air to fully dry between uses. A constantly wet toothbrush will grow bacteria and mold that could make you sick. It helps to dry it off with a towel before storing it to absorb some of the water and allow it to dry faster.
Do not store your toothbrush in a drawer or with a toothbrush cover over it. This will not give it a chance to dry properly. When traveling, be sure to take your toothbrush out of your travel bag or case so that it can dry, both at your destination and when you return home.
- Replace it regularly. Your dentist probably gives you a new toothbrush at every appointment, which should be every 6 months. At the very least you should replace your toothbrush that often. But replacing it every 3 months is even better to ensure the brush is in good condition and that it is clean.
You may need to replace your toothbrush more often if you have braces because the brackets will damage your toothbrush more quickly, bending the bristles and even pulling some out. You should also replace your toothbrush after being sick, especially if it was strep throat or a bacterial infection of some kind that could lead to reinfection.
- Clean it frequently. If you use the same toothbrush for a few months in a row, you should clean it weekly. Here are some ways to clean your toothbrush to keep it clean and smelling fresh.
- Soak your toothbrush in a mix of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and one cup of water.
- Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water and stir your toothbrush in the solution for a few minutes.
- Soak your toothbrush in vinegar.
- Soak your toothbrush in denture cleaner.
Rinse your toothbrush well after cleaning and allow it to dry thoroughly.
What Happens if You Don’t Take Care of Your Toothbrush?
There are two basic problems with a toothbrush that is not properly cared for:
- Bent or damaged bristles. When the bristles of your toothbrush have fallen out or are bent or broken off, they cannot remove food and plaque from your teeth as effectively. The bristles of your toothbrush are designed to clean around your teeth and along your gum line. Bristles that are bent, broken, or missing could lead to missed spots that could turn into cavities or cause gum disease.
- Bacteria or mold growth. If your toothbrush grows bacteria or mold it could make you sick. And brushing with a bacteria filled toothbrush will distribute bacteria over your teeth and mouth, which could cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Come to Emerson Dental Every 6 Months for Preventive Care
Dental professionals recommend having a dental cleaning and oral exam every 6 months. This allows for removal of plaque and tartar from your teeth and early detection of any dental or oral health concerns that need to be addressed. And at each regular visit you’ll get a new, clean toothbrush.
Call 978-399-0017 today to schedule an appointment at our Westford office or 781-394-9213 for our Bedford office.