While you may be well aware of the care that needs to go into brushing and flossing your teeth every day, do you know what you should be doing to take care of your toothbrush? If not, you may be making mistakes that can affect your oral health without you knowing about it. Here are a few tips to follow when it comes to toothbrush care.
Don't Seal Off The Toothbrush
If you only do one thing to care for your toothbrush, make sure to keep it in a place where it is not sealed inside a container. A toothbrush stored in any case that is airtight can cause bacteria to form on the bristles. Brushing your teeth is supposed to remove bacteria, and a sealed-off toothbrush could just be introducing it back to your mouth the next day.
Keep your toothbrush in a place where it's exposed to circulating air, such as on your bathroom counter. Avoid putting it into a drawer or medicine cabinet where it won't get much air circulation.
Don't Lay The Toothbrush Flat When Drying
Another tip to follow with where you place your toothbrush is to not lay the brush down on its side. Instead, you want to store the brush in an upright position. The goal is to allow the water to slide all the way down the handle of the brush so it is away from the bristles, which should not cause the bacteria to gather on the part of the toothbrush that goes into your mouth. You can prop your toothbrush up in a clean cup, or buy a fancy stand to hold it. Both will get the job done just the same.
Occasionally Deep Clean The Bristles
The bristles on the toothbrush need to be clean if you want them to be effective. That is why it's a great idea to perform a deep cleaning of the bristles occasionally. You should do this in a way that doesn't ruin the bristles, such as running it through a dishwasher. Instead, just soak the bristles in an anti-bacterial rinse, such as mouthwash. This should be enough to clean bacteria that may be hiding in the bristles.
Replace The Toothbrush Every 3-4 Months
Many people wait to replace their toothbrush when they get a new one from their dentist during their semi-annual checkup. You actually should be replacing it more often than that, after approximately 3-4 months. Replace it sooner than that if the bristles are looking particularly bad, or if you just recovered from being sick.