Amanda Orvis, RDH
TOOTHBRUSH CARE AND MAINTENANCE
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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