Taking care of your teeth by brushing and flossing daily is probably second nature by now. You brush twice a day, floss at least once, and occasionally use an antiseptic mouthwash. All are helpful in keeping tooth decay and gum disease away.
So how should you best care for your toothbrush? You can toss the used floss, spit out the mouthwash when you rinse, but what about your trusty toothbrush? You will want to take care to rinse it thoroughly with warm water after every brushing, to get rid of toothpaste residue, oral bacteria, saliva, blood and oral debris that can transfer to your toothbrush.
Based on the American Dental Association’s recommendations, you will want to incorporate the following when caring for your toothbrush.
- Only allow your toothbrush to be used by you, no sharing! Sharing toothbrushes allows the exchange of body fluids along with oral bacteria and allows cross-contamination if someone is sick. This is especially true if one of you has a compromised immune system.
- Keep your toothbrush uncovered. Only use toothbrush covers if you are traveling, otherwise, they trap moisture in them making them a breeding ground for bacteria. Let your toothbrush dry after each use to limit bacterial growth.
- Rinse your toothbrush after each use, leave your toothbrush upright in a container, preventing the bristles from touching anything (including another toothbrush, if you are sharing containers). The bristles need to dry in between use to lower bacterial growth.
- Bristles fray and splay over time, making them less effective for teeth cleaning. Inspect the bristles often to make sure they are in good shape. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, sooner if the bristles are worn down.
- Don’t try to sanitize your toothbrush in a microwave or dishwasher. These appliances were not designed to protect toothbrushes and once they are damaged, will not clean your pearly whites effectively.
- You don’t have to soak your toothbrush in a sanitizing solution after each use, but you can soak it in an antibacterial mouthwash once a week to reduce bacterial growth.
If you have questions or concerns, we invite you to reach out to our Sandpiper Dental team at 763-561-7000 today!