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Taking good care of your oral health means taking good care of your teeth and gums. Every day, you find yourself brushing and flossing in an effort to keep away tooth decay and gum disease. While you throw away your used dental floss, you will want to take good care of your toothbrush, so that it will do its job safely and effectively.

The main thing you will want to do every single time you brush your pearly whites is rinse well with warm water, to flush away bacteria, toothpaste, saliva, blood (from your gums) and oral debris that can transfer to your toothbrush as you clean your teeth. In addition to that, the American Dental Association and the Council on Scientific Affairs recommend that you do the following to care for your trusty toothbrush:

–Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone! Sharing toothbrushes allows the exchange of body fluids along with bacteria, so if someone has an infection, a compromised immune system, or an infectious disease, this can cause problems. Make sure your children each have their own toothbrushes and your significant other as well. Don’t germ-share!

–Once you have cleaned your teeth, rinse well with warm water and leave your toothbrush upright in a container. Take care that the bristles are exposed to air and not touching other surfaces so they can dry between uses. If you share a toothbrush holder with someone else, keep the bristles away from each other.

–If you have ever traveled, you might be familiar with toothbrush covers. They are fine to use short-term, but as a long term option, it can cause problems. The ADA does not consider closed toothbrush containers healthy, as they trap moisture in them which makes them a breeding ground for bacteria. It is important to let your toothbrush dry after each use to limit bacterial growth.

–Over time your trusty toothbrush will wear down, the bristles fraying and splaying. This will render it ineffective for teeth cleaning. Check your bristles often to make sure they are in good shape, and replace your toothbrush if they are not. The ADA recommends changing your toothbrush every 3-4 months as well.

–Don’t put your toothbrush in a microwave or dishwasher for sanitizing. These appliances are not designed to be safe for toothbrushes, and the CDC advises against disinfecting your toothbrush in one appliances because they can damage your toothbrush, making the bristles less effective.

–Although you don’t need to soak your toothbrush in a solution after each use, you can soak it in an antibacterial mouthwash once a week to decrease bacteria levels.

Take good care of your toothbrush and it will take good care of you! If you have further questions or concerns, we invite you to reach out to our Star Dental team at 916.773.6222 today.