Your oral care routine typically consists of several steps. You brush and floss your teeth daily. You use mouthwash to freshen your breath and eliminate bacteria. You visit your dentist a couple of times a year for routine checkups. You may even undergo cosmetic dentistry to improve the overall look of your smile.
But if you don’t properly care for the tools you use in your daily routines, your efforts to maintain a healthy smile might not do you much good.
In the blog below, we discuss seven tips to help you properly care for your toothbrush. You use this cleaning instrument at least twice a day (if not after each meal) to care for your teeth. To further enhance your cleaning regimen, read on to learn how you should take care of your toothbrush.
1. Don’t Use Pressure to Brush Your Teeth
To get a more effective clean, you may want to use force and pressure to scrub plaque and gunk off of your teeth. However, this cleaning method can damage the enamel that coats your teeth, causing it to deteriorate. Without enamel protecting them, your teeth are more susceptible to staining, corrosion, and other damage.
But your toothbrush can suffer if you use too much force to clean your teeth. High levels of pressure and force can cause the bristles on the brush to fray and fall out of place. As a result, your brush won’t give you an effective clean.
Instead of using pressure to brush your teeth, clean with repetitive motions. Move the toothbrush gently in concentric circles around every part of your teeth, tongue, gums, and cheeks. You may need to brush for an extra minute or so for an effective clean, but you’ll preserve the life and efficiency of your toothbrush in the process.
2. Rinse Off Your Toothbrush
Since your toothbrush comes into contact with your entire mouth-and the germs that reside in it-this cleaning device will likely pick up food particles, bacteria, and other debris from your mouth. Additionally, toothpaste could have embedded in the lower sections of the bristles.
Once you finish brushing your teeth, take some time to rinse off your toothbrush. Place the brush under warm, running water. First, wash your hands so your fingers are clean. Then gently rub the bristles to clear them of anything that may have stuck to them.
3. Keep Your Toothbrush Dry
Though it may seem counterintuitive, you should always keep your toothbrush dry. If moisture stays on the brush, it can encourage bacteria growth. If you use a bacteria-ridden toothbrush to clean your teeth, you increase your risk for developing dental problems.
To properly store your toothbrush, you’ll want to shake off any excess water after you rinse it off. Then, place it vertically upright in a toothbrush holder. Never lay your toothbrush flat on your sink and leave it in this position. If possible, use a toothbrush holder that keeps both the top and bottom of the brush exposed to the air so that the entire brush can dry out.
4. Don’t Share Your Toothbrush With Another Person
Even if this tips seems obvious, it’s still a good one to remember. No matter the circumstances, never share your toothbrush with another person, including family members. Sharing toothbrushes increases your risk for spreading bacteria and germs, which in turn increases your risk for developing oral health issues.
5. Wash Your Hands Before You Use Your Toothbrush
Think about the number of items your hands touch during the day. Various kinds of bacteria live on the surfaces you touch. So if you don’t wash your hands before you use your toothbrush, the germs on them can move to your toothbrush and into your mouth.
Before you brush your teeth, wash your hands. Use an antibacterial soap to further reduce the amount of germs on your hands.
6. Cover Your Toothbrush Only When You Travel
As previously mentioned, you want to keep your toothbrush dry as much as possible. So while you’re at home, always leave your toothbrush in its holder. However, you do want to cover your toothbrush when you travel.
A toothbrush cover or case protects the tool from any debris inside your toiletry bag, backpack, or suitcase. Choose an aerated case or cover to allow the device to breathe even as you store it. These specific covers and cases have small holes on them to allow air in (to dry off the brush) while keeping larger bits of debris out.
7. Replace Your Toothbrush Often
Finally, you’ll want to replace your toothbrush every three or four months. Over time, the bristles can wear down, resulting in ineffective cleaning. Take note of when you start using a new toothbrush so you can switch it out accordingly.
You’ll also want to replace your toothbrush after you’ve recovered from an illness such as the flu or a cold. Bacteria from these illnesses can still remain in the bristles, so replacing the brush entirely prevents you from getting sick again.
Enhance your oral health routine and use the tips above to properly care for your toothbrush. If you’d like additional tips on taking care of this vital tool, consult with your dentist. He or she can give you further instructions and advise you about the best toothbrush to use for your mouth.
For more information about caring for your teeth, read through our other blog posts.