A Couple Things About That Toothbrush of Yours

Toothbrushes are so non-descript. They do their job and then are hidden away in a drawer or hung on a rack until called upon once again to fight the endless battle with plaque. They can be overlooked.

But your toothbrush is your first line of defense in the fight against decay. And because Dr. Miller and his team are very big on preventative dentistry, here’s a little info on that bristly thing in your bathroom.

Let’s call it Toothbrush 101.

Caring for that toothbrush

dental healthThe key to a healthy toothbrush is to let it dry thoroughly before you use it again. Why is this important? Damp toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for germs, fungus, and bacteria. If allowed free reign they continue to build up to levels that you don’t even want to know about. Letting your toothbrush dry out kills most of those germs. When you’re finished brushing, let tap water run through the bristles, then store the toothbrush in an upright position so that the air can dry it out.

And you probably don’t think about keeping your toothbrush and the toothbrush of your partner from hooking up. Well, believe it or not, cold and flu viruses can jump from one toothbrush to another, if they’re touching while in the drawer. A toothbrush holder will keep them separate. Maybe on Valentine’s you can let them be a little closer, but that’s it!

How often to change your toothbrush

Some people keep using their toothbrush until the bristles are flattened like a wayward armadillo in Amarillo. Bad idea. Dr. Miller advises that you change your toothbrush every three months. Studies have shown that after three months of normal use, toothbrushes are no longer nearly as effective at removing plaque. This is because the bristles become bent and they break down, losing their effectiveness when getting into the tough spots.

And when you’re over that cold, flu, or mouth infection be sure to change your toothbrush. The germs can hang out down in the bristles and attempt a coup in your mouth, leading to reinfection.

How long should I brush?

To those used to cursory brushing, it can seem like an eternity at first, but you really need to brush twice daily for two full minutes. If you want to make it easier, think just 30 seconds for each quarter. Make sure to brush your tongue, the roof of your mouth, the pockets down along your upper gums. Two minutes. Set the timer on your phone.

Have more questions about basic oral hygiene? Call the team at Dr. Miller’s office. We’ll answer any questions you have, 503-640-9310.

Posted in: Oral Health

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