We often don’t think about brushing our teeth until we actually need to do so. That, however, can actually be harmful to your oral health.
Your mouth has all sorts of oral bacteria in it, and keeping your mouth clean helps lessen the harmful bacteria that may cause tooth decay. The tools that you use to brush your teeth and maintain great oral health also need your attention!
We’ve compiled some “Dos” and “Don’ts” for keeping your toothbrush sterile and teeth healthy.
Share a Toothbrush.
It should be obvious that sharing a toothbrush is unsanitary, but it also has the potential to transfer harmful bacteria and systemic diseases from one person to another. If you share a toothbrush with someone who has a weak immune system, they will be more likely to get sick from it. You shouldn’t share a toothbrush with anyone – not even your family members.
Travel Without a Container.
Even when you’re in a rush, resist the urge to just throw your toothbrush in your bag. Also, don’t substitute an actual toothbrush cover with a paper towel or a piece of foil – it is not the same. Without a proper cover, your toothbrush can collect dust and germs easily. Do you really want to use it to clean your mouth if it’s dirty?
Keep Your Toothbrush Contained at All Times.
While it’s important to keep your toothbrush covered when you are traveling from one place to another, at home (or when you arrive at your destination) you need to store your toothbrush in the open. This will help it dry out after use, and prevent the growth of bacteria. Germs can grow fast in a small, moist space. Also, try letting it dry out in an upright position.
Replace Your Toothbrush.
About every 3 months or so, it’s a good habit to dispose of your current toothbrush and start using a new one. This is just a helpful thing to do regularly to avoid any oral health problems in the future. It goes for electric toothbrushes too – replace the head every few months. You should also replace your toothbrush if you notice signs of wear (bent bristles, etc.). A damaged toothbrush won’t be able to keep your teeth clean!
Wash Your Toothbrush/Toothpaste Holders.
How often do you wash that cup that sits on the counter by the sink? I bet you – like most people – don’t give it a second thought after placing your toothbrush in it for the day. But as you can imagine, those holders can get pretty nasty pretty quickly. Try to give it a good scrub at least once a month to prevent the spread of germs.
Provide Distance Between Your Toothbrush and Someone Else’s.
It’s a good rule of thumb to keep your toothbrush isolated away from other people’s personal hygiene products – especially their toothbrushes. It’s a great precautionary measure for keeping your toothbrush free from unwanted germs.
Clean Your Toothbrush.
You might find this odd, thinking, “Why would I clean it if I am going to throw it out in a few months?” But your toothbrush can easily collect bacteria in a matter of days – so cleaning it every so often is an easy option to keep it fresh. Options for cleaning your toothbrush include:
Rinsing It Before and After Use. You should do doing this regularly, but in case you aren’t – go ahead and start the habit now!
Soaking It in Antibacterial Mouthwash.Antibacterial mouthwashes can work as sanitizing agents for your toothbrush. Soak your brush in the mouthwash for a couple of hours every couple of weeks.
Using a UV Sanitizer. These sanitizers are becoming more and more popular. They use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms on your toothbrush. Take a look at some of the best sanitizers on the market, here.
Without a clean toothbrush, you could have a lot worse things than cavities to worry about! Take our advice from the points above to keep your brush – and ultimately, your teeth – as clean and healthy as ever.
This post originally appeared on www.1dental.com and has been republished here with permission.