In your quest for excellent oral health, you brush and floss after meals, and toss the floss when you are done. You can’t do that with your toothbrush though, so what happens when you remove bacteria that inhabit your mouth when you brush? Actually, bacteria aren’t the only things that can be transferred to your toothbrush—you can transfer toothpaste, saliva, blood and oral debris from brushing. After every use, you will want to rinse your toothbrush well with warm water.

The American Dental Association and the Council on Scientific Affairs recommend that you care for your toothbrush by following the following steps:

Sharing toothbrushes is a big NO! Don’t let your children share toothbrushes with their siblings, and adults should not share toothbrushes either, even if it is your significant other. Sharing allows the exchange of body fluids and bacteria, which is detrimental if one of you has an infection, or a compromised immune system, not to mention an infectious disease (cold, flu, gum disease, tooth decay, etc). Reduce harmful bacteria by making sure everyone has their own toothbrush.

Once you have cleaned and polished your pearly whites, place your toothbrush upright in a container which prevents the bristles from touching anything. Reduce cross-contamination with others if you share a toothbrush holder by making sure the bristles are not in contact with each other.

What about toothbrush covers? You may have seen them when shopping for toothpaste, and might think they would keep your toothbrush germ-free, but the ADA actually advises against using toothbrush covers. Closed containers trap bacteria in them allowing moisture to remain which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Allowing your toothbrush to air dry between uses reduces bacteria, so unless you are traveling, make certain your toothbrush can freely air-dry after using.

Over time toothbrush bristles wear down and fray, losing their effectiveness and not cleaning your teeth properly. Although the ADA recommends changing your toothbrush every three to four months, it is advisable to check your bristles often and replace them when they are frayed to ensure their effectiveness, and that your teeth are being thoroughly cleaned with every use.

While some people think it is safe to disinfect toothbrushes in the dishwasher or microwave, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against disinfecting your toothbrush this way. These devices were not made to be safe for toothbrush use, which means they can damage bristles and make them ineffective. While it is not necessary to soak your toothbrush in a solution after use, soaking in an antibacterial mouthrinse may decrease bacteria levels that can grow on toothbrushes.

Using these toothbrush care tips, you can maintain your pearly whites at your best! If you have any questions you can reach our caring staff at West Jordan Dental Office