How often do you spend time thinking about properly caring for your toothbrush? Probably not that often, if at all. Toothbrush maintenance may be low on your priority list if it’s even on it at all, but it’s certainly worth some consideration. A clean and properly maintained toothbrush is essential for your oral health. A dirty or broken one can be a hotbed for the growth of bacteria that can then be transferred to your mouth.
We have compiled our best tips for taking care of your toothbrush, which in turn will help you to take great care of your oral health.
Replacing your Toothbrush
Start by taking a good long look at the state of your toothbrush. If you notice that some of the bristles are missing, bent, or frayed, it’s time to replace it. Some toothbrushes also contain coloured bristles that fade when it’s time to replace them. If you have been ill, you might want to replace your toothbrush once you have recovered.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush approximately every 3 months. If you continue to use a toothbrush with frayed, damaged, or worn-out bristles, that toothbrush will become increasingly ineffective at cleaning your teeth.
Storing your Toothbrush
If you notice that your toothbrush emits a strange odor, it could be that the toothbrush isn’t thoroughly drying between uses. Bacteria require warmth and moisture to grow. Proper storage of a toothbrush to keep it fresh and free of bacteria requires that it be stored upright with adequate airflow to ensure it dries between each use. Don’t use toothbrush covers (except when traveling) and make sure your toothbrush is not in close proximity to your toilet.
Cleaning your Toothbrush
It is important to rinse your toothbrush with clean water thoroughly after each use. If you want to clean your toothbrush beyond rinsing, you can do any of the following:
Soak your toothbrush for several minutes in a solution of 2 teaspoons of baking soda in one cup of water, white vinegar, or one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide in one cup of water once weekly.
You can also try soaking your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash or denture cleaning solution for 30-60 seconds.
Maintaining your Toothbrush
In addition to the methods listed above, there are a few other things you can do to ensure you get the most use out of your toothbrush.
The Right Amount of Pressure: Believe it or not, using extra pressure when brushing your teeth does not make your teeth cleaner, but it will reduce the amount of time your toothbrush will be effective. When brushing your teeth, you should be using pressure that is firm but gentle, and be sure to avoid chewing on the bristles or scrubbing your teeth overly hard or fast.
Rotate Toothbrushes: Some people like to rotate between using two (or more) toothbrushes. This can help to elongate the life of your toothbrush.
Electronic Toothbrushes: Treat your electric toothbrush the same way you would treat a manual toothbrush by allowing it to dry completely between uses, rinsing it thoroughly, and replacing the head every 6 months or sooner as needed.
Sharing Isn’t Caring: While this may seem like an obvious tip, resist the urge to share your toothbrush with others, even your spouse or other family members. If you are traveling and forgot your toothbrush, you can swish some toothpaste and water around in your mouth until you are able to purchase a toothbrush. Sharing toothbrushes is never a good idea, as the bacteria within the mouth are unique to each person.
The Bottom Line
Ensuring that your toothbrush is always in good condition is an essential part of maintaining the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. A well-maintained toothbrush will last several months and will be effective at cleaning your teeth and gums until it is time to replace it. If you have questions for our team about how to select the best toothbrush or how we can help you and your family members achieve optimal oral health, contact our Guelph Dentist’s office today!