Don’t Give Your Toothbrush the Cold Shoulder

toothbrush careYour toothbrush needs a new agent. After all, it goes about its daily business, fighting the evils of plaque and bacteria in your mouth, all with nary a second thought from you. Some of you don’t even give your toothbrush the requisite time of day, so to speak. We know what you’re thinking: what’s the big deal; it’s just a toothbrush!

Ah, but your little-bristled friend is very important to the health of your teeth. In fact, he’s the point guard for your home hygiene routine. So, here are some tips from your friends at Gentle Dental about your toothbrush.

Caring for your toothbrush

A dry toothbrush is a happy toothbrush. Huh? It’s important to let your toothbrush dry thoroughly between brushings. That’s because lots of bad stuff — germs, bacteria, fungus — all like things damp. If you put your brush away wet into a dark drawer, you’re asking that bacteria and such to get busy like a muscle head at the Shore! So, when you’re done brushing, put your toothbrush in a place where it can air dry. A toothbrush rack is a good spot.

Speaking of getting busy, you don’t want your toothbrush hooking up with the toothbrush of your partner, either. Cold and flu viruses see no problem throwing a mutiny and jumping ship from your partner’s toothbrush over to yours. Keep them separated.

How often to change your toothbrush

Some people milk their toothbrush like they just finished making payments on it after six years. The bristles are flattened like Jonah Jameson’s hair. Uh, maybe you could spring a couple of bucks for a new toothbrush? At Gentle Dental, we like our patients to change their brush every three or four months. Studies have shown that after three months of normal use, toothbrushes are no longer nearly as effective at removing plaque. At that point, the bristles bend and break down, losing their effectiveness at getting into the tough spots.

If you’ve just had the flu, change your toothbrush, too. Germs from your illness can lurk down in the bristles and cause re-infection.

How long should I brush?

To some of you, brushing your teeth for two minutes can seem longer than an average dinner with your mother-in-law. But that’s how long you should brush. You can think of it as 30 seconds per quarter if you want. And include your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth. Two minutes. Come on, that’s less than the infomercial for Flex Seal!

Have more questions about basic oral hygiene? Call us at Gentle Dental, and we’ll answer away — (732) 549-5660.

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