Your toothbrush is an essential part of your daily oral care. They help remove plaque and food particles from our teeth every time we brush. Proper toothbrush care in between brushings is essential to help limit the amount of bacteria and microorganisms that remain within the bristles on the brush.
Research studies have shown bacteria and microorganisms do develop on toothbrushes. However as long as you practice the proper care, storage, and replacement, the amount found on brushes is minimal and does not contribute towards diseases and illnesses. To find out if you are caring for your toothbrush correctly, we invite you to review the following information.
- Do your rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing? Rinsing the toothbrush off helps remove toothpaste, food particles, and bacteria that get on the brush. Not doing so allows any debris and bacteria on the brush to remain. This can promote an increase in bacteria and microorganism growth.
- Do you store your toothbrush uncovered in an upright position? Storing the toothbrush head down or laying it on the countertop does not allow it to fully dry. If you use a toothbrush cover, this also prevents it from drying. All of these situations can create moist environments that increase bacteria and microorganism growth. Furthermore, covered toothbrushes could start to develop mold and mildew.
- Do you store more than one toothbrush in same holder? If you store multiple toothbrushes used by different people in the household in the same holder, you want to make sure the heads of the brushes do not touch. It is often better to use one holder for each member of the family or a holder that has separate areas, so the heads will not touch at any point.
When heads touch, the brushes can become cross-contaminated with bacteria from each person in the home. This could also result in an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms, placing everyone at increased risks of infections and illnesses. This is also why you should never share your toothbrush with someone else.
- How often do you replace your toothbrush? The more often your replace your toothbrush, the less bacteria and microorganisms it will have. If you notice the bristles are starting to look worn or frayed, it is time for a new brush. In addition, worn brushes are less effective at removing plaque and food particles from the teeth. Brushes should be replaced every three to four months.
- Should I replace the brush after being sick? One common misconception people have is when they have had a cold or flu. They think once they recover they should replace their toothbrush. However, this is not always necessary because your body has already recovered from the illness and has built up an immunity to reinfection.
Yet if you are at high risk of illnesses due to certain medical conditions, then you may want to replace your brush after recovering or if it is recommended by your dentist or primary healthcare provider to do so.
Aside from proper toothbrush care, also remember to floss daily and see a dentist at least twice a year. Please feel free to contact Arborg Family Dental at (204) 376-2624 to schedule an appointment today!