We have always stressed on the importance of observing personal oral hygiene: twice-a-day brushing for two minutes, daily flossing and tongue scraping.
To make sure that we get the most out of our toothbrushes, we must make sure we maintain and care for them properly.
The mouth is home to different types of bacteria, and these are transferred to toothbrushes during use. Toothbrushes can also pick up bacteria that are present in the air and the environment where they are kept.
These are general recommendations of the American Dental Association and the Council on Scientific Affairs for toothbrush care:
- Replace your toothbrush approximately every 3–4 months or sooner if the bristles become frayed and worn with use.
- Check your children’s toothbrushes for frays and wears. Children’s toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adults’.
- Never share your toothbrush. Sharing it could result in an exchange of body fluids and microorganisms between you and the other person.
- Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water after use to remove remaining toothpaste and other debris. Keep it in an upright position and allow it to air-dry until it’s time to brush again.
- If you and your family share the same holder, do not allow your toothbrushes to be in contact with each other to avoid risks of cross-contamination.
- Do not routinely cover your toothbrush or keep it stored in a closed container. A moist environment is more susceptible bacterial growth than the open air.
Some cleaning methods including dishwasher or microwave use could damage your toothbrush. It may not be designed to withstand such cleaning conditions, and consequently reduce the effectiveness of your toothbrush.
There are also commercially available toothbrush sanitizers and if you opt to go for them choose a product cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
With these expert tips in mind, we’re all armed and ready to make the most out of our good ol’ oral hygiene partners. Happy brushing!