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A Whole Lot of Brushin' Goin' On: A Guide to Your Toothbrush's Care

Jul 03, 2013

This month Dean and I are going to change your outlook on one of the most personal bathroom tools you own - your toothbrush.  In our series, The Power of The Brush, we will explore different types of brushes, when to replace them, how to use them and how they can assist in your oral health, amongst other tidbits.  Missing this series would be just as bad as your morning breath…

Photo source:

I have to make it a point to write down on the Target® list to get a new toothbrush.  Inevitably, I forget.  Or I stand there and look at the overwhelming wall of toothbrushes and say, “Forget it.  I will get the free one from the dentist in a couple months.”  Changing your toothbrush only every six months will leave a bad taste in your mouth, friends.  Literally. 

While we at Dental Insurance Store are super stoked that you actually go to the dentist every six months like you should, we want to help that smile stay bright the other 363 days.  Especially for those who all you wanted for Christmas were your two front teeth.  Don’t make me tell your Mom that you aren’t taking care of your oral health…she will be so disappointed! 

Because we cannot stand to disappoint our Moms, here is an easy guide of “do’s” and “don’ts” of caring for your brush and the well-being of all brushes in your household. 

The Do’s:

1 - Out with the old, in with the new

Change your brush every 3 to 4 months or when the bristles start to fray.  Bent bristles decrease the effectiveness of your toothbrushing.  Research has shown that a worn out toothbrush does not remove the plaque from your teeth very well.  This can lead to smelly breath, cavities and even periodontitis.  A child’s toothbrush should be replaced more often since the bristles are softer and fray quicker.  Some people find that they need to replace their brush more often due to brushing too hard.  This is bad for your oral health and pretty soon you will be rubbing plastic against your tooth which is harmful to the enamel.  But don’t just throw out your old brush, you can recycle it

2 – “I’m gonna wash that plaque right out of my brush!” (sing this line 1940’s South Pacific style)

Make sure that you thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use to get rid of the debris and leftover toothpaste.  If debris is left on the brush, you will just put it back in your mouth the next time you brush.  Not only is that probably one of the grossest things I can think of, it’s terrible for your oral health.  While hanging out on your brush, that debris has been collecting bacteria which can affect your health in other ways.  Once you rinse your brush, it’s best to store it in an upright position so that it can air dry.  Also, get all of the water out of the brush.  This is my son’s favorite part…it’s the only time slurping is acceptable!

3 – Make your brush walk the plank

In May, we reported that it’s really unnecessary to toss your toothbrush after an illness.  But for those who are complete germaphobes, go for it.  It can’t hurt.  Just be prepared to have toothbrushes galore on your Target® shopping list; especially during cold and flu season!

4 – Out of all the toothbrushes out there, I choose you… 

It’s very important to pick a brush that actually fits well in your mouth.  How are you ever going to effectively remove the plaque in your mouth with a brush that was made for Big Foot?  Likewise, if your brush is too small, it will take a month to brush when 2-4 minutes is effective.  The bristle stiffness is also very important with stiffness ranging from very soft, medium and hard.   Your dental professional can assist you in choosing the right brush depending on the current state of your oral health. 

The Don’ts:

1 – Sharing is not caring

I share virtually everything with my husband, except my toothbrush.  One morning on accident, he used my brush.  YUCK!  Guess who ended up with the Target® list that day?  Besides being the second grossest thing in this post, sharing a toothbrush is just not sanitary.  No matter how hard we try, you really cannot cleanse your toothbrush all the way.  So let’s just keep our germs to ourselves, shall we?  Which leads me to this…..

2 – The dishwasher and microwave aren’t in your bathroom for a reason

“Disinfecting” your toothbrush in either one of these appliances is a no go.  The heat from the microwave or dishwasher can damage the brush and ruin it.  And I am pretty certain that the detergent pod I put in my dishwasher would not be safe for me to ingest off my brush.  Just an educated guess on my part.  You would think that soaking it in mouthwash would be a good way to clean your brush, but that is not good for the brush or for you.  Feel free to rinse it occasionally with mouthwash to help kill some bacteria.

3 – Toothbrushes are nudists by design

By covering up your brush you are creating a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.  The case on the brush mimics a greenhouse effect and moisture on the bristles doesn’t allow them to dry out.  You should use a case for your toothbrush when traveling to avoid other things from your luggage infesting your brush.  Using a glass from your hotel room makes a great toothbrush holder while you are away allowing your brush to air dry upright.  Just let your toothbrush stay naked as much as possible.  They aren’t embarrassed, promise.

In conclusion, your most personal bathroom tool is your best superhero in fighting oral hygiene crimes against your mouth.  Treat your toothbrush with the care and respect that it deserves.  I don’t know what else is willing to go in that smelly gab factory in the morning and make it presentable for the rest of the world, do you?  Thanks for reading today and make sure you come back next Wednesday for more tales of Toothbrush Power! 

American Dental Association, Yahoo Answers, Oral B

Copyright 2013 Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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