Your toothbrush is the key tool in your arsenal for proper oral heath, but without correct care it can become far less effective in cleaning your teeth. Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, the head or the brush itself needs to be swapped out periodically. Storage of the brush ban be just as important as you want to keep it as clean as possible. Here are a few tips to keep your toothbrush in good shape month after month.
When To Replace
Even the best toothbrush needs replaced periodically, and unfortunately there isn't a "long-lasting" variety or any such product to prolong replacement times. The hard and fast rule is every toothbrush should be replaced around three months. Pop off the head of your electric toothbrush, or relegate your manual toothbrush to cleaning and scrubbing duty, and buy a new brush at the store.
It's also good to remember that different users create different levels of wear and tear on their brushes. If you apply a lot of pressure while brushing, your toothbrush may wear down faster. Aside from needing a quicker replacement, it may be good to re-examine your brushing habits if this is the case. Hard brushing can actually be tough on your teeth, and you may need to adopt a different approach. If you're worried you're brushing too hard, you can always show your dentist your habits during the next checkup.
Keeping track of time for brush replacement can be tough for some. There are brushes with color strips that will indicate when you need a change, but these brushes aren't as popular as they used to be, and therefore less available in all styles. You're better off shopping for a brush you want and keeping track of time another way. Here are a few suggestions:
- Once you buy a new brush, put a calendar reminder in your phone three months out.
- If you prefer a physical calendar, pencil in a reminder there.
- Place a post it note inside your medicine cabinet with a reminder on when to replace the brush.
However you choose to note a replacement date, find a system that works for you. Mental reminders often miss the mark, so don't use that method as you could end up going months too long before a change.
Aside from not changing a toothbrush often enough, people make the mistake of storing their brushes improperly. It may make you cringe to hear it, but toothbrushes can harbor millions of bacteria on the bristles. While this can be distressing, your body is used to dealing with those levels of bacteria. However, you want to do all you can to keep it from getting worse. Brushes should be allowed to dry thoroughly after use, and the best way to do this is to store the brush upright. A simple toothbrush jar at your local store does the job just fine. Keeping the brush on the counter or laying it flat in the medicine cabinet is a bad idea.
It's a common myth that brushes can't touch because they will transmit germs. This can be a common fear for those that store brushes next to their significant other in a toothbrush jar. However this isn't true, and you don't have to worry about your toothbrush getting "infected" by other brushes.
Only those with significant immunity issues need worry about contact with other brushes. Talk to your doctor if that's the case. An alcohol rinse can be used to clean your brush if you're ever concerned about the cleanliness of your toothbrush. However, there's no need to worry about applying an alcohol rinse regularly to your toothbrush if you're healthy. Ensuring your brush dries after use and replacing it regularly is all you need to do as far as regular care goes.
We all know time flies and it is easy to forget. In addition to keeping a regular schedule for checkups at your dentist, you need to replace your toothbrush every three months and store it properly when not in use. Sooner is always better than later if you forget when you last bought a brush, and thankfully brushes are inexpensive to replace. Don't forget to schedule a checkup if you're overdue. Contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry to make an appointment today.