Your toothbrush is the most important tool in your oral care arsenal. According to The Human Footprint, the average American will go through around 200 toothbrushes in their lifetime. But are you using yours correctly? Because your toothbrush has probably been a staple in your daily routine for years, you may not be fully aware if you’re using it incorrectly.
Dr. Spector is here today to offer 10 toothbrush tips to help you establish a better oral hygiene routine.
1. Soft Bristles
For most patients, a soft-bristled brush is the safest and most comfortable toothbrush option. Brushes with medium and hard bristles can damage the gums, root surface and protective enamel. Unless your dentist recommends otherwise, make sure that the packaging indicates that you are choosing a soft-bristled brush.
2. Small Head
Most dentists recommend using a toothbrush with a small head. Smaller heads allow the brush to easily reach all of the corners of the mouth. Make sure to choose a brush with a long handle that fits comfortably in your hand, like a fork.
3. Nylon Over Natural
As we mentioned previously, soft-bristled brushes are better for your teeth than medium and hard brushes. But we recommend checking the material of your brush as well, as a brush with nylon bristles or rubber strips is generally softer and more effective in removing plaque and bacteria.
4. Time It Out
One of the most common toothbrush faux pas is neglecting to brush for the proper amount of time. After a long day or in the morning rush, it is sometimes tempting to brush quickly or for only a few seconds, but this is harmful. We recommend brushing for at least two minutes twice per day in order to thoroughly clear your teeth of bacteria and food particles.
5. Brush Your Tongue
As part of your daily oral care routine, don’t forget to brush your tongue as well! The tongue is where bacteria is most abundant in your mouth. If these germs aren’t eliminated, it can lead to halitosis (bad breath) and even tooth decay later on. Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean the bacteria off.
6. Choose Fluoride Toothpaste
Next time you pick out a tube of toothpaste at the store, read the label carefully. We recommend a toothpaste that contains fluoride to keep tooth decay at bay. Sodium fluoride is a great bacteria-removing agent that ensures your teeth remain free of damaging germs.
7. Swap It
The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months. This is because the bristles wear down and fray over time, reducing the effectiveness of the brush.
8. Replace After Illness
If you’re recovering from a bacterial infection or a virus, we recommend erring on the safe side and replace their toothbrushes. While it is uncommon for patients to make themselves sick again after using the same brush, it does not hurt to get a new one after battling a cold or the flu.
9. Store It Properly
A common misconception is that a case or cover for your toothbrush head is the best way to keep it clean. Instead, this creates a moist environment around the brush, which is far more conducive to the growth of bacteria and microorganisms. Store your toothbrush in a sterile place and try to keep the head from touching the counter or other toothbrushes. And keep it as far away from the toilet as possible!
Once you retire your toothbrush, it can still have a use. Soak it rubbing alcohol or boiling water to get rid of the bacteria, and then you can use it to clean those hard-to-reach areas in your home.
More Toothbrush Tips?
At Gentle Dentistry in Haworth, New Jersey, we are committed to providing patients with the best care and advice. It is our duty to ensure that people learn how to properly care for their oral health in order to prevent unhealthy diseases and decay. If you have any more questions or want to schedule a consultation, contact Drs. Spector and Migdal today.