Monday, November 16, 2015

The Healthiest Home for your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush has an important job to do each day; are you giving it the healthiest place to hang out between brushings? Follow this advice from the American Dental Association to ensure you’re getting the best from your brush.

Rinse it well

Give your toothbrush a thorough rinsing before and after each use. Use hot water and run your thumb over the bristles to make sure there’s no food debris or toothpaste left on the brush, which can harbor bacteria.

Store it upright

Don’t stash your wet toothbrush in a drawer – keeping it in a dark, moist environment can encourage the growth of microorganisms. Store it bristles-up in a container that will allow it to drain and properly dry between brushings. If you share a toothbrush holder with others, make sure the brushes don’t touch each other.

Carefully choose a cover

If you use a protective covering for your toothbrush, choose one that allows for ventilation. When packing your brush for travel, place it in a bag that will allow air to circulate around it. Unpack your toothbrush as soon as you’ve reached your destination and keep it uncovered in a safe place.

Avoid the toilet

Some studies suggest that when a toilet is flushed, small amounts of germs can become airborne. Avoid the risk by keeping your toothbrush at least three feet away from a toilet. The same principle applies if you keep your brush too close to a sink that is constantly getting splashed up by dirty-hands washing.

Replace regularly

Replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Frayed and worn bristles decrease cleaning effectiveness. Children’s brushes may need replacing even more frequently.

Special precautions for those with compromised immunity

The ADA says there is insufficient clinical evidence to support that bacterial growth has an adverse effect on oral or systemic health, but there are some common sense precautions that may be taken for individuals with low immunity or an infectious disease. Replacing a toothbrush more frequently than 3-4 months can decrease the number of bacteria the person is exposed to, and using an antibacterial rinse prior to brushing can also be helpful.

Your toothbrush is your single best weapon against oral health problems; give it the TLC it deserves to ensure a bright and healthy smile every day.

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