Caring for your Toothbrush
Everyone knows how important it is to brush your teeth but unfortunately not everyone knows how to care for their toothbrush.
Your toothbrush is a potential breeding ground for bacteria, a playground for germs and a great place to grow fungus. A human mouth is a very dirty place and the instant you place a new toothbrush in it the brush is contaminated too. Even normal, healthy microorganisms can cause infections, especially if they enter your gum tissue due to an injury or an oral ulcer.
However, you shouldn’t be afraid to brush your teeth – all you need to do is properly take care of of your toothbrush and it will serve you well.
After brushing your teeth it is best to shake it under tap water and store it upright to dry and air out. If you have an immune disorder or illness, you may want to soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher (though some brushes may get damaged in dishwashers or microwaves). Now there are many new sanitizers on the market as well as kits that use ultraviolet light to sterilize your brush and kill microorganisms (please note, some products haven’t been fully tested)
Rule #1 – remember “Don’t brush where you flush”.
Rule #2 – don’t store your toothbrush where it can touch others. Sharing is caring, but not in the case of germs.
Rule #3 – let your brush breath. Lack of air can increase bacterial growth. Moist conditions aid growth too. Air drying can prevent both.
Though your toothbrush has served you well and you’ve been really close for a few months, at some point you should part and say goodbye. Most dentists agree that your brush should be changed out every 3 months. After 3 months the brushes tend to wear and are much less effective at removing plaque than a new one. Also, if for any reason you have had a build up of germs or bacteria, changing your brush is a great way for a fresh start.
Additionally, if you have had the flu, a cold, a sore throat or any mouth infection, it’s important to throw away your brush no matter how long you have had it.
The same advice goes for electric toothbrushes.
No. Don’t do it. Toothbrush sharing can result in an exchange of body fluids and/or microorganisms – even the kind that causes tooth decay. Tooth decay is considered an infectious disease. It could also compromise people with compromised immune systems or existing infectious diseases.
A toothbrush case is a wonderful investment as it prevents your brush from being flattened. However, it is a good idea to let the brush air dry after brushing to help prevent germs.