Your toothbrush is a vital part of your oral health. That’s why it’s so important to properly care for your brush in a manner that prevents bacterial build-up and other potentially harmful microorganisms that can negatively impact your oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth is the first line of defense against plaque, gingivitis, and other various forms of gum disease. Keeping your toothbrush free of germs is critical for minimizing infections and the health risks that can come from a contaminated brush. Here are four proper care and maintenance tips that will help reduce the likelihood of developing a serious oral condition from your toothbrush.
1. Rinse Thoroughly
When you’ve finished brushing your teeth, be sure to rinse the bristles of the brush under tap water. This will fully remove all food particles, toothpaste, and other germs and debris before you put the brush away. A good rinsing is the first step to ensuring that your brush is nice and clean for the next time you need to use it. When you put it away, be sure to store it upright and not lying on its side. That will allow it to air dry fully.
2. Avoid Sharing
Sharing your toothbrush with another person is bad idea as it could result in users exchanging germs and other microorganisms that can promote poor oral hygiene. This elevates the risk of infection and should be avoided at all costs. If someone else has used your toothbrush, you should wash it thoroughly to kill any contaminants or, better yet, you may just want to throw it away. If you store your toothbrush in the same holder alongside others, be sure they remain separate from each other in order to prohibit cross-contamination of germs.
3. Store Uncovered
It’s important that you allow your toothbrush to breathe and remain exposed to the open air. This reduces the chance for bacteria to grow. Therefore, never store your toothbrush inside of a closed container as that will increase the likelihood of microorganisms developing in the bristles.
4. Replace Your Brush
Your toothbrush is not designed to be kept around for an extended period of time. You may notice the wear and tear on your brush as the bristles become worn out and frayed. When this occurs, the brush is less effective at getting all of the food particles and other bacteria in your mouth and it needs to be replaced. This should happen every three to four months for adults and more frequently for children’s brushes.