Your toothbrush is in your mouth for 4 minutes every day. That may not sound like a long time to have something in your mouth but now imagine if it were dirty. If you aren’t caring for it correctly, it might be. It’s important to make sure your toothbrush is clean and that you store it properly when you’re done. It’s also very important to know when it’s time to replace it.
Dr. David W Goris of Beautiful Smiles in Greenwood, IN encourages you to take a look at these do’s and don’ts of toothbrush care so you can keep your smile healthy.
Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water after using it. Leaving toothpaste residue (and it’s probably not just toothpaste) behind means that it won’t be clean for the next time you use it. Rinsing your brush clears away not just leftover toothpaste but also the plaque that was just removed from your teeth.
Store your toothbrush upright so that water runs down and out of the bristles and out in the open to allow it to dry. Keeping an already wet brush in a moist place like in a case or cabinet can actually promote mildew or bacteria growth on your toothbrush. Many bacteria die when exposed to dry air, so it’s recommended to leave it out to dry!
Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or every six months at the absolute latest. A good way to remind yourself is to buy a new toothbrush when you see your dentist for a regular cleaning. If you notice bristles coming off, bending, or fraying, it’s time to replace your brush.
Don’t share toothbrushes. Sharing toothbrushes can expose others to bacteria from your mouth and vice versa. Illnesses and infections can spread easily this way.
Don’t sanitize your toothbrush in mouthwash or other hygienic agents as it isn’t necessary and could even make you sick. Allowing the brush to air dry will usually eliminate most bacteria.
Don’t store it in a closed container. While you may have heard that toothbrushes are exposed to bacteria from the toilet, don’t store them in closed containers. This allows bacteria to flourish in moisture and a closed environment, which would be harmful to your mouth.
That being said, don’t keep your toothbrush too close to the toilet. Germs can become airborne after flushing the toilet and could find their way onto your toothbrush. Try to store it someplace away from the toilet but where it’s still able to air dry.
Your toothbrush doesn’t need special cleaning in order to keep it clean, safe and effective. Simply rinsing them out after use, letting them to drip dry in open air and replacing them regularly is enough. For a consultation with Dr. Stevens at Beautiful Smiles to help you make sure you’re taking the best care of your smile, call (317) 886-4512 or schedule online.