Amanda Orvis, RDH


In order to maintain a healthy mouth, one must use a clean toothbrush.  Toothbrushing plays a major role in your personal oral hygiene care. When brushing, it is important that you use a clean and functional toothbrush.  Toothbrush bristles can harbor harmful bacteria that can be damaging to our oral health.


The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. The same rules apply to both manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads. Many types of bacteria can be found on toothbrush bristles, these bacteria can continue to multiply over time potentially causing harm to our mouths. Toothbrush bristles also break down over time causing the bristles to fan out, fray, or simply fall out.  When your toothbrush bristles break down the toothbrush becomes less effective, making it harder to clean your mouth properly. If you or any member of the family become sick or gets an infection in the mouth, it is important to replace yours or their toothbrush immediately to be prevent that harmful bacteria from spreading or re-infecting you or that person. In order to prevent cross contamination make sure you do not share toothbrushes for any reason.


After brushing your teeth it is important to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush to remove any additional toothpaste, bacteria, and saliva. Germs can hide in your toothbrush bristles and lead to oral infections of not properly cleaned.


After cleaning your toothbrush, it is very important to allow your toothbrush time to thoroughly dry between usages. Designate an area for your toothbrush to dry. Many toothbrush storage containers are available that prop your toothbrush upright and allow the toothbrush to not touch anything else while drying. When traveling, it is just as important to allow your toothbrush to dry between usages. Keeping the toothbrush bristles covered while storing it within your other items during travel is important as well. Small toothbrush storage cases are available at almost all pharmacies and grocery stores. Just make sure the toothbrush is fully dry before storing it in its case.


  • Do not share toothbrushes
  • Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use
  • Leave your toothbrush in an open area to dry after each use
  • Discard your toothbrush if you become sick or get any dental infections
  • Replace your toothbrush at least every 3 months


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Sensitive Teeth


Lacee Hogle, RDH

Sensitive Teeth

Do you avoid drinking hot and cold liquids or avoid eating sweet and sour foods because you know it will cause discomfort? If so, it may be time to discuss this concern with your dentist. In order for your dentist to treat the sensitivity, your dentist must determine the cause.

Possible causes include:
Gum disease
Tooth Decay (cavities)
Fractured teeth
Worn fillings

To help you better understand why your teeth may be sensitive, first you must understand the anatomy of a tooth. In a healthy tooth, a layer of enamel protects the crown of your tooth- the part above your gumline. That protective layer is not supplied by nerves; therefore, you will not feel discomfort when your enamel is exposed to anything that is hot or cold. Under the gumline there is a layer called cementum that protects the root of the tooth. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is
dentin. Dentin is supplied by nerves and therefore will cause discomfort if exposed to anything hot or cold. Now that you understand the anatomy of a tooth, lets discuss ways we can help relieve or prevent tooth sensitivity.

If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to recession, your dentist may recommend sensitive toothpaste. Also, your dentist may recommend a fluoride varnish and a fluoride rinse. In addition, the doctor may ask you to avoid drinking acidic liquids. As mentioned before, when you have recession, dentin is exposed. Dentin has holes called dentinal tubules. If we are able to occlude the holes with a fluoride varnish and a fluoride rinse, your sensitivity will subside. Both of these approaches are conservative therefore you won’t receive immediate relief. It may take a few weeks before you start to
feel a difference.

Another option to help with discomfort is to have a gum graft performed. Gum grafts include removing tissue from the roof of your mouth and placing the tissue over the dentin. This is somewhat of an aggressive approach to relieving tooth sensitivity but if a conservative approach is not sufficient, a gum graft is a great option. Also, in some cases, placing a composite filling over the dentin is an option.

Now let’s discuss ways to prevent recession. Studies show that you use a lot more pressure with a manual toothbrush than you do with an electric toothbrush. So yes, if you are heavy handed and you tend to use a lot of pressure while brushing, an electric toothbrush would be a good investment. If you’re opposed to purchasing an electric toothbrush, try holding your manual toothbrush with just a few fingers instead of your whole fist. It’s almost impossible to apply a lot of pressure when you’re using a
few fingers to hold the toothbrush handle. Also, please be aware that most people tend to have recession on the teeth that they brush first. Everyone tends to use a lot of pressure when they first start to brush their teeth. So switch it up, start off by brushing the teeth that you typically brush last.

If your doctor believes that your discomfort is due to gum disease, the approach is the same as mentioned above. You’re still dealing with recession, it’s just the recession was not due to brushing too aggressively, it was due to gum disease. Make sure the gum disease is addressed by having a “deep cleaning” performed. A deep cleaning will create a healthy oral environment which will then help prevent further recession. Once the gum disease has been addressed, follow the simple steps that we discussed previously.

If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to decay, a filling, inlay or crown can help relieve the sensitivity. If you have a large cavity, a root canal treatment may need to be performed.

If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to a cracked tooth, a crown typically will relieve the discomfort. In some rare cases, the crack will be below the gumline and unfortunately the only option at that point is to pull the tooth.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. It is important to brush and floss your teeth daily. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.

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