Brush the Teeth You Want to Keep
Author: Lauren Conway
Brush The Teeth You Want To Keep
We all have one. Ever since we can remember we’ve been told to use it twice a day. The ordinary, yet famous, toothbrush.
That being said, have you ever been told how often you should be changing or caring for that handy toothbrush? Whether it’s your everyday toothbrush, your overnight toothbrush, or even that toothbrush from a vacation that slowly, yet surely became your go-to toothbrush...each and every one is a magnet for germs.
What toothbrush is right for you?
Walking into your local drug store may feel overwhelming at times, especially in the dental hygiene aisle. Toothbrushes of all different colors, shapes and sizes- where to begin? Toothbrushes alone just aren’t as simple as they used to be. Whether you are a manual or electric toothbrush type of person, both are great for different reasons and get the job done at the end of the day.
If you swear by the traditional, manual toothbrush, more power to you! Manual toothbrushes are more affordable and accessible. That being said, be careful because they sometimes cause you to brush “too hard” or brush “too short.” If you are a responsible brusher then a manual toothbrush could be the perfect fit for you. They may not have all the bells and whistles found in many electric toothbrushes, but they are still an effective tool for cleaning your teeth and preventing gingivitis. (1)
Electric toothbrushes are also a great option. They are much more eco-friendly than a manual brush and many of them turn on and off after the optimal brushing time is finished. On the downside, they tend to be pricier. (1)
When in doubt, call your dentist and find the best option for you. Every smile is different!
How to Store Your Toothbrush:
Now that you picked your toothbrush, where do you put it!? Many of us are guilty of just throwing our toothbrush in a drawer or in a cup among other toothbrushes after brushing. Even though this may be a split-second decision, take a moment and think about all the different things that can take place in a bathroom besides brushing your teeth...YIKES is right! It is important to care for and store your toothbrush safely to avoid contaminating it, especially if you are sharing your bathroom with more than one person.
“The American Dental Association recommends the correct way to care for your toothbrush after brushing is to rinse it well so that all residue comes off, give it a good shake to remove excess water, and then to store it upright in a cup or holder so that it’s not touching any other toothbrushes.” (2) Even more importantly, the ADA recommends storing your toothbrush out in the open. When you throw your toothbrush in a drawer or cabinet, it is in a moist and closed environment just waiting for microorganisms to grow. (Yep, GROSS!)
Sharing is NOT Caring:
If you have been sick, even if it’s just a “cold,” part ways with your toothbrush. According to The Guardian, if your toothbrush is stored near other family members or roommates you risk infecting others. Throwing away toothbrushes that are contaminated with infectious material is a cheap and easy way to help protect all family members when one of them is sick.
It is also important to NEVER share your toothbrush with anyone. “Sharing a toothbrush can cause bacteria found in the saliva to be passed back and forth between users. Exchanging fluids in this way could pass diseases such as viruses or herpes to the other users.” (3)
Toothbrushes are an inexpensive way to keep your mouth and smile happy. Share in other ways, but not with your dental hygiene.
It’s time to go!
As a general rule of thumb, you should change manual toothbrushes about every 3 months (4) When toothbrush bristles become frayed, matted, or curled out at the edges, it is time to replace it. This all depends on how vigorously and often you brush. For example, if it has bristles that curl at the edges. These are no longer effective at removing plaque and should be discarded. A brush with curled bristles will not get your teeth clean, no matter how long you brush or what technique you use. (The Guardian) For lack of better words, if you are a “rough” brusher- aka your toothbrush looks like it went through a lawnmower, then you may need to change your brush more often.
For electric toothbrushes, be sure to purchase the correct replacement head and Plan to change out the toothbrush head on your electronic toothbrush every 12 weeks, or even earlier. Watch for signs of wear and tear on the bristles to know when it’s time to say goodbye to a brush head. (Healthline)
Smile, it’s contagious!
Once your dental hygiene routine is in place, enjoy your smile. Whether it’s opting for a neon bright colored brush or splurging on a fun cup to store your brush, make brushing fun and remember to only brush the teeth you want to keep.