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When Should I replace my Toothbrush?

July 13, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-76765623We all know that tooth brushing is essential to properly care for our teeth and maintain good oral hygiene, but we may not be paying as much attention to how we care for our toothbrush. Studies have shown that improper care of toothbrushes can increase the likeliness of many oral health issues, but the same studies make toothbrush sanitation seem like an uphill battle. The main thing to remember is never keep your toothbrush for more than 4 months to avoid the most harmful bacterial contamination. If you want to know more about tooth brushing or toothbrush care and maintenance, call Giamberadino Dental Care of Medford, MA to schedule your dental hygiene appointment and general checkup today.

Other Not So Pleasant Toothbrush Truths

You use your toothbrush to clean your teeth twice a day and maybe you’d rather not think about it, but when’s the last time you cleaned your toothbrush? How about the last time you replaced your toothbrush? You may be feeling annoyed. What do dentists want from you? You brush, you floss, you visit them twice a year, and now you have to clean your toothbrush everyday too. In short, yes you really should clean your toothbrush after every use.

Your toothbrush removes bacteria and food particles from your teeth. Some of these particles become trapped in the bristles and can replicate. Overtime, it becomes increasingly likely that your toothbrush will further contaminate your teeth rather than cleaning them. Then, there’s the other things that can contaminate your toothbrush. Most people store their toothbrush in a bathroom where it’s regularly exposed to debris from perfumes, hairsprays, cleaning products, and the dreaded fecal matter from toilet bowl spray. Even more disturbing, toothbrushes are not required to be stored and sold in sterile packaging meaning your toothbrush may be contaminated the moment you buy it.

At the end of the day, the cleanliness of our toothbrushes should be treated with a reasonable amount of concern. Thoroughly rinsing your toothbrush before and after each use and storing the brush in an open, upright container is generally more than enough care to keep your toothbrush from causing illness. However, it never hurts to rinse the toothbrush with an antimicrobial mouthwash from time to time, or even run it through the dishwasher to ensure sanitation. It’s essential to remember that our bodies are swarming with bacteria and only a tiny percentage of those is harmful. Oral hygiene and cleaning will never remove all the bacteria from our mouths, but it may help us remove the harmful ones.

Toothbrush Tips from Skilled Dentist, Sommerville

Okay, so now you’re afraid to brush your teeth, but you still need to. Here are some helpful hints from Giamberadino Dental for toothbrush maintenance:

  • Replace your toothbrush regularly. We recommend 4 times a year, every 3 months.
  • Replace your toothbrush if you’re sick. When you’re sick more of the harmful bacteria may be populating your mouth. Using the same toothbrush after you feel better can lead to recontamination.
  • Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone. Your body is a delicate ecosystem and introducing another person’s bacteria to the ones your body is used to makes it more likely you may develop an illness and increases your chances of tooth decay.
  • Don’t store your toothbrush covered, lying down, or upside down. Storing the toothbrush upright allows the water to run from the bristles and dry out relatively quickly making it more difficult for bacteria to grow. Whereas storing a toothbrush in a container or lying on its side or upside down helps create a moist environment where bacteria flourish. Additionally, storing toothbrushes in a container can lead to mold growth as well as bacteria propagation.
  • Clean your toothbrush before and after use. Allowing the toothbrush to dry out between uses exposes bacteria to oxygen which kills them. Rinsing the toothbrush with warm water before and after use removes foreign matter that may have collected on the bristles between usage. If you’re concerned about contamination rinsing your tooth brush with antimicrobial mouthwash while you gargle can help kill bacteria on your brush as well.

There’s no way to clean all the bacteria and debris off of your toothbrush or out of your mouth, but maintaining good hygiene routines can help remove the majority of harmful bacteria. Remember that this care applies to mechanical toothbrushes as well as manual toothbrushes. If you want to invest in an electric toothbrush, find one that has removable heads that are easily replaced.

Call Your Dentist, 01890 to Find Out More

Dr. Giamberardino is a skilled general, restorative and cosmetic dentist in the Sommerville area. He can help you achieve and maintain the best possible dental health. Call to schedule your six month checkup today. Our Medford, MA practice invites patients from local communities like Somerville, Arlington, Cambridge, Winchester, and Melrose .

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84 High St., Suite 304, Medford, MA 02155 USA
Anthony Giamberardino (781)396-3800