Are you one of those people who regularly change their toothbrush every few months, or are you guilty of waiting until your toothbrush really needs a decent burial? Even though toothbrushes are pretty cheap, many people fail to change them frequently enough.
Most people need to replace their toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles begin to look worn and splayed. A toothbrush that is worn or damaged will not clean your teeth effectively, as frayed bristles cannot reach in between your teeth and there’s the possibility that they may damage your gums. If you use an electric toothbrush, the toothbrush head probably has built-in wear indicators but if you choose to use a manual brush, it’s worth keeping an eye on its condition.
Once you have brushed your teeth, make sure your thoroughly rinse your brush, removing any food debris and excess toothpaste. Store it in an upright position where the air can circulate freely as this will help it to dry more quickly, minimising the number of bacteria on the brush. Make sure it doesn’t touch anyone else’s brush while drying.
If someone has shared your toothbrush then it is worth getting a new one, as the damp bristles can allow bacteria to thrive. You should never let someone, not even an intimate partner, use your toothbrush as it will transfer bacteria from their mouth to yours, allowing these bacteria to colonise your mouth. Most people have plenty of different strains of bacteria of their own without inadvertently adding to the numbers.
When choosing your toothbrush, aim to purchase one with soft to medium bristles and avoid anything that is labelled as having hard bristles. This is because you do not need a hard bristled brush to clean your teeth effectively and harder bristles could wear away your tooth enamel or damage your gums. Another thing to bear in mind is the size of the toothbrush head, as it needs to be small enough to fit comfortably right to the back of your mouth.
The number of toothbrushes available is quite mind-boggling and it’s possible to spend a fair amount of money on an electric toothbrush, but is it worth the cost? Quite often these electric toothbrushes will come with numerous features that promise to help whiten your teeth, massage your gums and to leave you with a thoroughly clean mouth.
Electric toothbrushes do clean very efficiently, but if you prefer using a manual brush then there is no reason why you can’t obtain great results as it’s all down to using the right technique. However, if you find a manual brush quite difficult to manipulate then an electric toothbrush could be worth the money. You might also find that you quite like some of the built-in features. One that is particularly useful is the built-in timer which will alert you every time 30 seconds has passed so you know it’s time to move on to the next quarter or quadrant of your mouth. If you’d rather stick to a manual brush, then it can be a nice idea to think about purchasing a small timer to keep in your bathroom as ideally you should be brushing your teeth for at least two minutes each time and sometimes two minutes can seem surprisingly long.
If you’d like some more advice on the best kind of brush or some tips on brushing your teeth effectively, just ask next time you visit us here at Tsawwassen Place Dental for your checkup.
* Source: National Smile Month www.nationalsmilemonth.org