UPDATED from last blog post. We ask patients if they would like to have a new toothbrush after each dental cleaning. Most people say yes; however, there are some that decline. Recently, I started to ask patients who did not want a toothbrush why they did not need one. Some say they have a mechanical one; others say that their toothbrush looks fine, so they don’t need a new one.
Even though a toothbrush looks normal, it contains millions of bacteria that are introduced into your mouth each time your brush. With that in mind, here are some suggestions to minimize the bacteria that your toothbrush harbors.
1) Don’t brush where you flush. When you flush your toilet, thousands of bacteria are sprayed into the air. If your toothbrush is nearby, it starts collecting the bacteria that was in your toilet. Isn’t that a stomach-wrenching thought?
2) Keep your toothbrush dry. Bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments and these conditions allow bacteria to replicate. By keeping your toothbrush dry, you minimize the numbers of bacteria and make your brush more sanitary.
3) Keep your toothbrush to yourself. The human mouth harbors hundreds of millions of bacteria. By sharing your toothbrush, you introduce new strains to your mouth that can be more aggressive and cause gum disease. Even keeping your toothbrush in the same cup or container as a family member causes the spread of bacteria.
Since toothbrushes can harbor so many bacteria, it is recommended that you change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Don’t wait until the bristles fray or your brush develops mold!!! Yes…this can happen. Here are also other times when you want to change your toothbrush.
1) When you are finished recovering from a cold. A cold is usually passed from person to person, when people sneeze and spread the bacteria or viruses via saliva droplets. Every time you brush your teeth, a toothbrush is saturated in that same saliva and harbors the cold-causing bacteria or viruses. Therefore, once you recover, it is very important to change your toothbrush and not introduce the bad bacteria back into your system.
2) When you have your teeth cleaned. The purpose of a dental cleaning is to remove plaque and calculus that you have not been able to remove on your own. It is usually found in hard to reach places and has been in your mouth for a couple of months. These plaques have been able to grow and usually contain a more aggressive type of bacteria. When a dentist or hygienist removes them, your mouth returns to health. If you go home that evening and brush your teeth with your old toothbrush, you are just re-introducing the aggressive types of bacteria back into your mouth. A new toothbrush will help you keep your mouth healthy!
As always, feel free to email or call us with any questions you have. You can always check out our blog for updates on our office or for new insights into the field of dentistry. The web address is www.FordDentalGroup.com/blog.
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With your dental health in mind.
Ford Dental Group