Dental News

To Care for your Teeth, Care for Your Toothbrush

May 5, 2016

If you haven’t changed your toothbrush lately, you’re not cleaning your teeth effectively

To Care for your Teeth, Care for Your ToothbrushMost people do recognize the importance of good oral hygiene for keeping teeth healthy and attractive. They know they need to brush at least twice per day and floss once per day in order to control the bacteria that cause tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.

However, what many people overlook is the simple fact that to take good care of your teeth, you also need to take care of your toothbrush.

Specifically, you need to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or as soon as the bristles become frayed.

What’s So Bad about Frayed Bristles?

You may have noticed that after you’ve had a toothbrush a few months, the bristles start to look frayed and fuzzy at the ends. But you might wonder why this matters—after all, aren’t the bristles still scrubbing your teeth just fine?

Sure, frayed bristles can still help clean plaque off the exposed surfaces of your teeth. But what they cannot do is penetrate into the surfaces between teeth as effectively as when they were new. This leaves plenty of places for food debris and bacteria to hide in your mouth.

Say Goodbye to Bacteria

Another benefit of replacing your toothbrush three or four times per year is that when you throw out your toothbrush, you also throw out tons of bacteria. According to one study from the University of Manchester in England, the average toothbrush is home to at least 10 million bacteria, including E. coli and Staph bacteria.

Toothbrush Selection and Storage Tips

If it’s been a while since you replaced your toothbrush, there’s no time like the present to take action.

What to buy: When shopping for a toothbrush, there are a few important criteria to keep in mind. First of all, you want to be sure you are choosing an appropriate bristle hardness. Though toothbrushes come in soft, medium, and hard bristles, for most people soft or medium bristles are best. If you tend to brush your teeth rather hand, choose soft bristles to be sure you do not accidentally damage your enamel or gums when brushing. Another important consideration is the shape of the toothbrush. You may prefer a toothbrush with an angled neck, which will make it easier to reach your back teeth. Or, you may want a toothbrush with a fat handle that is easier to grip. Finally, you may want to consider choosing a toothbrush that carries an ADA seal of approval as this offers some degree of quality assurance.

Where to keep it: Though toothbrushes will begin picking up oral bacteria within 30 seconds of use, you can at least limit the bacteria growth by keeping your toothbrush in a clean and ventilated area. Also, be careful not to let your toothbrush touch someone else’s and never store your toothbrush near the toilet, as this could lead to additional bacterial colonization.

Don’t Forget Your Professional Dental Cleanings

No matter how well you brush your teeth at home, you still need to visit the dentist for professional dental cleanings and exams. To schedule your appointment, contact California Dental Group today.