You probably know that you need to replace your family’s toothbrushes every few months – at least four times a year. But do you know why? It’s not a scheme by the toothbrush makers to get more money out of you. The Dentists at Brinton Lake, near West Chester, want you to know that your toothbrush is a vital part of your oral health regiment, and there are some important reasons why you shouldn’t keep the same one for years on end.
Here are the top 3 ways your old toothbrush could actually be harming your mouth:
Your toothbrush is a great tool for removing bacteria from your teeth and mouth. However, it doesn’t actually kill the bacteria. Though a good rinsing when you’ve finished brushing removes most of the bacteria, some of it stays in the brush. This isn’t a problem at first, but three months of bacteria is more than you should be putting in your mouth. And the best place for bacteria to breed and grow is in a warm damp environment – like your toothbrush.
Like any tool, a toothbrush wears down. This affects your teeth in two ways. The first problem is that the worn bristles are tough on your enamel, and can wear it away over time. The second problem is that after three months of use, a toothbrush can be up to 95 percent less effective at removing plaque than when it was new. At that point it’s almost like not brushing your teeth at all.
It’s best to change your toothbrush after you’ve gotten sick. From something as simple as a cold, to oral illnesses like cold sores or strep throat, it’s a good idea to switch your tooth brush out. Get a new toothbrush when you feel the illness coming on, and a second one for when the illness has tapered off.
And just as a friendly reminder, here are some more tips on toothbrush use:
- Use the brush recommended by your dentist.
- Your brushing sessions should last two minutes or more.
- Make sure your toothbrush is stored in the upright position.
- Let it air dry.
- Make sure it doesn’t touch any other toothbrushes.
- Never share your toothbrush.
Stick by these, and you’ll have a foundation for a great smile for the rest of your life.