Your toothbrush is an essential part of your everyday regime–it’s probably one of the first and last things you reach for in the day. However, something so trusty and known for its benefits should be taken with caution: overusing a toothbrush can have negative effects on your health. So read more to find you what might be on your toothbrush and when to replace your mouth’s best friend.

The reason dentists always preach about the essentials of toothbrushing is related to the removal of bacteria and other unwanted substances. However, many of these organisms are living, and can easily find a new home. Many oral bacteria and microbial organisms will attach to your toothbrush when placed in the mouth If you are even slightly sick or ill, and you may be without realizing it, you may have bacteria and viruses on your toothbrush for weeks.

If you have an ulcer or mouth sore, be even more cautious. Ordinary bacteria that gets into the gum tissue through toothbrushing can cause infection and make your mouth problems more painful.

How do I store my toothbrush?

Store your toothbrush properly–upright and dry. Get a cover for your toothbrush that prevents mold but has room for air to move through. Too tight or stifling of a cover will encourage bacteria growth. Also be wary of your toothbrush when you first get it because the packaging used doesn’t even have to be sterile.

How do I clean my toothbrush?

To clean your toothbrush, rinse it with tap water thoroughly. You will probably need to manually check to see if all debris has been removed. You can also soak it through an antibacterial mouthwash, especially if you are sick or get sick easily. Deep cleaning options are available, and toothbrush sanitizers may be necessary to kill all of the microorganisms. You can call our office to inquire about what level of protection is necessary for you.

When do I replace my toothbrush?

You should replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or as soon as it shows wear. Frayed bristles do not clean the teeth properly and can actually irritate gums. If you do notice your toothbrush fraying well before the 3 month mark, you may be brushing too hard and damaging your best defense against bacteria. You want a new toothbrush that will scrub away unwanted microbes, but make sure the bristles aren’t too hard. Throw away toothbrushes after being sick, as well. Even you clean it with hot water it may still retain bacterial traces. For those who love their battery-operated toothbrushes, the advice remains. If the toothbrush head looks worn, consider getting another attachment.

You should avoid sharing toothbrushes, because of the additional transfer of saliva and bacteria. Tooth decay is also an infectious disease, and may be transferred between family members or others who share a toothbrush. There are many other ways to prevent getting infected while keeping your teeth clean, so call us today to discuss the do’s and don’t of toothbrush use.