FEATURE — Your toothbrush takes care of your mouth in so many ways. It keeps your teeth, gums, and tongue clean and accesses hard-to-reach areas in your mouth to remove food particles and plaque. It reduces your risk for gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss. It keeps your body healthy, your breath fresh, and your smile bright and confident.
Your toothbrush does a lot for you, but what do you do for it? Consider the following tips for keeping your best (inanimate) dental hygiene friend in optimal condition.
Clean your toothbrush!
Rinsing your toothbrush under the tap after you finish brushing does not get rid of the bacteria and germs you just scrubbed off your teeth. The most convenient way for you to clean your toothbrush is to pop it into a glass of mouthwash you keep by the sink. Mouthwash contains alcohol and/or antiseptic agents that not only kill germs but also prevent bacteria from growing.
There are other ways to clean your toothbrush that require a little more effort on your part. Hold the bristle end of the toothbrush in boiling water for a few seconds or run it through the dishwasher on the hot cycle (without detergent, of course). No matter what you choose to do, cleaning your toothbrush regularly is one of the best ways you can take care of it.
Store your toothbrush correctly
Because you are trying to keep your toothbrush as germ-free as possible, do not store it on the countertop near the toilet. Every time the toilet is flushed, germs and bacteria become airborne and land on surfaces throughout the bathroom – including the surface of your toothbrush.
Also, do not store your toothbrush in an airtight container such as a travel toothbrush carrier, because germs flourish in moist areas. Instead, store your toothbrush bristle-end up where it can air out: a closed bathroom drawer or a medicine cabinet. And put the lid of the toilet down when flushing to reduce the risk of germs spreading throughout your bathroom.
Get rid of that old toothbrush
Are you brushing with a toothbrush that has bristles that are worn down, bent, yellowed or frayed? When your toothbrush looks this sorry, it is time to get a replacement; a worn and old toothbrush simply cannot clean your teeth properly.
You’ll love the feel of the stiff, clean bristles against your teeth, and your teeth will get a proper cleaning.
Ask your dentist for a toothbrush recommendation.
Your dentist is anxious to help you keep your mouth clean and healthy. If you have questions about which toothbrush to use, ask about it at your next dental appointment or call the office and speak with the office staff. Your oral health care provider will gladly answer any of your questions regarding your teeth, your toothbrush, and your brushing routine. If you take care of your toothbrush, it will take care of you.
Written by St. George Health and Wellness staff and Paris Family Dental.
This article was first published in the May/June 2021 issue of St. George Health and Wellness magazine.
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