Your toothbrush might not have had an outing for a while, but when was the last time you replaced it? Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, changing the brush or head is key to ensuring you get the most from your oral health routine. If you are wondering how to keep your toothbrush clean or when it’s time to get a new one, read on for some helpful advice.
Does Your Toothbrush Need Cleaning?
Just as your teeth are susceptible to bacteria, so too is your toothbrush. Without regular cleaning, saliva and other microorganisms may stay on the bristles, risking contaminating your mouth next time you brush. Keep your brush clean by rinsing it thoroughly under the tap after brushing and storing it upright so the water and debris can drain away from the head.
Should You Share Your Toothbrush?
Whilst it might seem like a friendly gesture between you and your partner, sharing a toothbrush is definitely not a good idea. As a one off, if you have forgotten your toothbrush then brushing with a shared brush is better than not brushing at all, but on a regular basis we recommend you don’t share. When you use someone else’s toothbrush you expose yourself to all of the bacteria in their mouth, which may differ from or not react well with your own. This can increase your risk of catching a cold, the flu or Covid-19.
As gums can sometimes bleed when brushing, if you share a toothbrush with someone whose gums bleed you are also opening yourself up to the risk of diseases transmitted in the blood such as Hepatitis C.
Where to Store Your Toothbrush?
A toothbrush holder is the ideal place to keep your toothbrush as it has holes to allow the air in to keep the brush dry. If you use an electric toothbrush, it will probably come with a stand for brush heads to allow the brushes to dry out completely in between brushing, helping to keep them free from bacteria.
Keep your toothbrush holder, stand or pot as far away from the sink and toilet as possible, as germs can splash up to six feet, contaminating your toothbrush with bacteria.
Signs Your Toothbrush Needs Replacing
Take a look at your toothbrush now and if you spot any of these signs, it’s time to go and buy a new one, or replace your electric toothbrush head:
- Bent or crooked bristles
- Debris that can’t be removed from the bottom of the bristles
- Toothbrush hasn’t been used for a while, due to you using another one
- Toothbrush resting up against someone else’s brush - thus contaminating both of them
- Dropping your toothbrush - even momentarily is long enough for it to pick up nasty bacteria
Electric or Manual Toothbrush?
Recent studies have suggested that electric toothbrushes may be better for overall oral health when compared to manual brushes, as they result in healthier gums and thus less tooth decay. Ultimately, the choice is yours but if you are undecided, ask us at your next appointment.
For more tips on using, cleaning or replacing your toothbrush, please speak to our dental team on your next visit and we’ll be happy to advise you on the best brushes and techniques for your teeth and gums.