Here are some shocking facts to consider, while the average toilet seat can hold within it around 295 bacteria per square inch, your toothbrush can have around 200000 bacteria per square inch! It was also found out that the toothbrush holder is the third filthiest place in a home. Pretty gross isn’t it, considering your toothbrush goes straight into your mouth twice a day. As much as this oral hygiene instrument is essential for the health of your teeth, you also need to clean and replace it often. Here is what you need to know…
Why Do You Need to Change Your Toothbrush?
There are several factors to consider here. With frequent use, our precious toothbrush is subject to a lot of rubbing and beating, thereby becoming a breeding ground for germs. Also, some dentists recommend changing it if you have had a fever or a mouth infection. Germs can hide in the toothbrush and if reused before it is dry, it can result in a possible re-infection. Then you have to also realise that this item is placed in your bathroom which in itself is a storehouse of all kinds of germs and bacteria.
Not replacing it on time can lead to poor oral hygiene. Needless to say, it can result in bad breath and improper cleaning of teeth.
How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
How often you should change your toothbrush depends on its condition. Most dental professionals recommend doing so every three months. Those brushing less might not see the need to change it as recommended. But this strategy is unhealthy and unwholesome. Also, do note that just because your toothbrush shows no visible signs of damage, it does not mean that you can continue using it until it wears out. Studies have proven that after three months of normal and regular usage, this item fails to do its job properly. Removal of plaque from the teeth and gums can become a hard battle for it even if there is no visible damage.
However, the best way to know whether you should change your toothbrush or not is by checking the shape of the bristles. The ones that kids use demand frequent replacement owing to the fact that they brush more vigorously than adults.
Signs That Your Toothbrush Needs Replacement
- Bristle Damage: In most cases, the bristles would show the first signs of damage. They break down with regular usage, and it becomes hard for the toothbrush to reach the corners around your teeth. If the bristles have spewed in different directions or if they look crooked, it’s high time you changed it.
- Debris at the Bottom: Another thing to look for in bristles is the appearance of debris at the bottom. If you do not rinse your toothbrush well after use, toothpaste remnants along with the dirt from the mouth can settle at the bottom and make it difficult to clean. In such cases, replace immediately.
- Being Sick: If you have been sick, it’s good to consider disposing of your oral care instrument. In most cases, letting it air-dry after each brushing will kill the germs. However, when in doubt about the maintenance, change immediately. Been storing yours next to the toothbrush of another family member who has been sick? You should consider buying a new one as well.
- Improper Storage: By placing your toothbrush inside a container, you leave no room for it to breathe. If you suspect the item has not been given enough time to dry and enough space to breathe, it’s better to dispose of it.
How to Maintain Your Toothbrush
Now that you know the factors that determine the longevity of a toothbrush and how frequently to change it, it’s important to learn about its proper maintenance. Following are some tips for the same…
- Rinsing the toothbrush under tap water can wash away most of the saliva and toothpaste remnants. Rinse it well before and after every use.
- Store in a vertical position with the bristles positioned upright. This allows the bristles to air dry and kill the lingering germs and bacteria.
- Never put the toothbrush in a closed container. This can allow bacteria to breed and multiply, resulting in bad oral health and hygiene.
- Store your oral hygiene items separately. Do not allow it to touch and be around other toothbrushes.
- Avoid putting them near the sink and toilet areas. If you do so, there is a high chance of it getting splashed by dirty or soapy water.
- Place it at least three to four feet away from the toilet area. Also, do not store them near the kitchen and bathroom cleaning products.
Other Oral Hygiene Tips
- Apart from changing your toothbrush at regular intervals, make sure you buy one that can be bent to reach the farthest corners of the mouth.
- Pick one with soft bristles if you have sensitive gums.
- Practice flossing after major meals so that the slightest of food residues can be removed.
- You can also use an oral irrigator to flush out germs and minute particles.
- Pick a toothpaste that is rich in fluoride and brush twice a day for sure.
Lastly, if you cannot remember when you last changed your toothbrush, it’s high time you got a new one. As recommended by dental health professionals, this item needs to be changed every three months, no matter how clean and good it looks.