It’s probably time to change your toothbrush!
Swap it out while the bristles are still straight and strong. When they become worn, they lose their effectiveness. They might also harbor bacteria connected with gum disease and gingivitis.
The American Dental Association suggests a new toothbrush after you have used yours for three to four months—or sooner, should the bristles start to splay. Your bristles will wear down sooner if you wear braces. Children’s brushes usually wear down more quickly than adults’ toothbrushes will.
- If you want to keep it working well for as long as it’s meant to, rinse it well. Keep it as clean as it can be between uses.
- Store it upright, and, if possible, don’t keep it in a closed cabinet or container. A wet toothbrush in a closed compartment is hospitable to microorganisms.
- That said, do protect your toothbrush with a travel case when you’re on the road. Of course, don’t let others use your toothbrush.
The packaging and the websites of several brands of toothbrushes tell us that throwing them away can help prevent re-infection by a cold or virus. Is this accurate information?
No, you won’t catch your cold or flu back from your own.
You can be re-infected by bacteria. For instance, streptococcal holdouts could give you a new round of strep throat after you finish a course of antibiotics. But claims made by manufacturers that you might catch a second cold are unfounded. Antibodies in your system are working to fend off your cold or virus. They will normally shield you from contracting your own sickness again.
It is possible to get sick from using another person’s toothbrush. This probably goes without saying, but don’t use anyone else’s toothbrush. Don’t store toothbrushes touching one another—for example, standing in the same cup—between uses.
What about the opening of a tube of toothpaste? Can that harbor infections? To be on the safe side, use your own tube. Never store your toothbrush close to the toilet. This way, you will avoid any unwanted splashes.
Note: The American Dental Association is not alarmist about microorganisms on your toothbrush. The human immune system works efficiently to fend off disease.
Some people are wisely concerned about too many toothbrushes being discarded into the environment. There’s some good news on the environmental front, though. You can buy toothbrushe, online or in some grocery store, that were made from recycled plastic yogurt cups—toothbrushes that the maker will even take back and recycle again! Also available are toothbrushes made of bamboo.
Entrust your questions, and your teeth, to our Flint dental professionals. Let our dentist be your key to lifelong dental health! Feel free to give our Flint dental clinic a call at 810-733-8202, or request an appointment online.