One of the most frequent questions Dr. Caracioni hears is ‘How often should I change my toothbrush?’. If you can’t remember the last time your replaced your brush or your bristles are frayed and splayed, it is time to toss. Find out why you want to replace your brush, how to properly care for your toothbrush, and when it’s time to toss it in this blog.
Your mouth is full of bacteria. When you brush your teeth, your toothbrush comes directly in contact with millions of bacteria living in dental plaque, the sticky film that develops and covers the teeth, gums, and tongue. So, naturally, these bacteria are transferred to your toothbrush, where they build up and continue. These germs and even viruses can live in your brush for days to weeks, causing illness. Not only can you get sick, but you can also subject yourself to gum infections, tooth decay, and gingivitis.
These bacteria and germs can also make your brush – and your breath smell or taste funky. Washing your brush regularly can help reduce bacteria build up. You should thoroughly rinse your brush after use, and you can clean it by soaking in antibacterial mouthwashes or rinses or send it through the dishwasher to disinfect. There are antibacterial toothbrush Sanitizers available in some stores that use ultraviolet light to destroy bacteria, so that is an option many people choose as well.
It’s also important to store your brush properly. Storing your brush upright, exposing it to air so that it can thoroughly dry is important. The bacteria picked up from the mouth can multiply in a wet brush, causing odor, bad taste, and illness. Do not store your brush in a drawer, cabinet, case, or with a cover on it. Improper storage can also facilitate the growth of mold, and that’s just gross.
Visually inspect your brush regularly for missing, broken, or frayed bristles. Brushes in bad shape cannot clean your teeth properly. If your teeth aren’t properly cleaned, you put yourself at risk of decay and periodontal infections.
This also goes for electric or battery operated models, too. Inspect the bristles on these dental cleaning devices just like you would a regular toothbrush and replace the heads when necessary.
One more thing – NEVER share your toothbrush with a friend or family member. Sharing your brush means sharing bacteria – which can lead to illness and hard to treat infections.
Do you have questions about your toothbrush or any other dental questions? Call Dr. Caracioni today at 785.783.0741 for a consultation.