Is it time for you to buy a new toothbrush? The bristles on the one you’re using now aren’t totally flattened out yet, and you’ve kept it clean by storing it upright with your family’s brushes on the bathroom counter. You’re all good, right?
There are many things wrong with this picture, but millions of people care for their toothbrush in exactly this way. Let’s take these steps apart one by one so we can look at the problem with this approach and then explain the correct way to care for your brush.
Replace Worn Toothbrushes
If your brush looks like someone sat on it, it needs to be replaced. Frayed, worn bristles aren’t getting your teeth clean, and old brushes are typically loaded with bacteria that you continue to spread around in your mouth. Replace your brush every three months and after you've been sick with a cold or flu.
Don’t Store Brushes Together
It might be convenient, but storing your family’s brushes in the same container can lead to cross-contamination of bacteria from yours to theirs. Some bacteria typically found on brushes are:
- Streptococcus mutans – leads to tooth decay
- Enteric bacteria and pseudomonads – lead to ear infections, skin rashes, and diarrhea.
- Herpes virus – lives on a toothbrush for as long as 48 hours.
Close the Lid
Worst of all though – and the thing that should send you right to the store for a new brush – is that some studies indicate that 60 percent of all toothbrushes are contaminated with feces. If you have to store your brushes in the bathroom near your toilet, get in the habit of closing the lid after use, and make sure all family members do the same.
Store your brushes separately, and never, ever share a toothbrush with someone else.
Call Us for More Helpful Tips
When you’re looking for oral health tips, a highly trained dentist like Dr. Cerina Fairfax has all the answers your need. If you have questions about oral hygiene or any other aspect of your dental care, please call Dr. Fairfax & Associates to reserve an appointment today.