Taking care of your teeth and gums makes you healthier, but if you fail to replace your toothbrush often enough, it could be making you ill.
Many people only change their toothbrush once or twice a year – typically at the same time they visit the dentist. But the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles become frayed. Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced even more frequently.
Why replace your toothbrush more often?
- Normal wear and tear can make your toothbrush less effective at removing plaque and germs from your teeth and gums.
- A toothbrush can provide a breeding ground for germs of all kinds. Germs come from the mouth and can accumulate in the bristles of a toothbrush over time
- After a cold, flu or other infection, you can prolong illness – or become infected again – if the germs are still living on your toothbrush.
Follow these five tips to keep your toothbrush clean and healthy:
- Rinse. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush thoroughly to remove toothpaste and plaque residue.
- Dry. Shake the toothbrush to remove any excess water. Then, place it upright in a toothbrush holder to dry and air it out. Moisture allows germs, bacteria and fungus to multiply.
- Separate. Don’t share toothbrushes. If more than one person uses your bathroom, ensure that your toothbrushes do not touch one another. This will prevent germs from passing back and forth. Invest in separate toothbrush holders, or store the toothbrushes upright in labeled cups.
- Protect. When travelling, store your toothbrush in a plastic case. Most travel cases have small holes to allow for good air circulation. Be sure to let your toothbrush dry before putting it away.
- Replace. Do not attempt to sanitize your toothbrush in the microwave or dishwasher. This can damage the bristles and make the toothbrush less effective. If you have been ill or suspect contamination, simply throw the toothbrush away and replace it.
Finally, don’t waste your money on products that claim to sanitize toothbrushes. According to the ADA, toothbrush sanitizers have not been show to provide a health benefit. If you do wish to try one, be sure to purchase a sanitizer that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
If you have questions about your oral health or what toothbrush is best for you, make an appointment with the experts at Highland Park Dental at 214-521-3730.
Highland Park Dental
6725 Hillcrest Avenue
(next to Starbucks in Snider Plaza)
Dallas, Texas 75205