The Trusty Toothbrush

toothbrush Your toothbrush is a bristled superhero, fighting the evil attackers known as plaque and tartar day in and day out. It never gets a day off (at least hopefully not for those around you dealing with your breath), and it gets little respect. Where’s a little bit of Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T when you need it?

People just take their little-bristled friend for granted. So, how important is your toothbrush anyway?

Very important.

To increase your love for your little-bristled friend, Dr. Miller and his team want to give you a refresher course on your toothbrush.

Caring for your toothbrush

A damp toothbrush is not a happy toothbrush. Huh? It’s important to let your toothbrush dry out after being used. This is necessary to keep bad stuff — germs, fungus, and bacteria — from multiplying like a bunch of polygamists in Utah. When your toothbrush fully dries, the majority of the germs die. When you finish brushing, thoroughly rinse your toothbrush and then store it in an upright position so the air can dry it out.

And, while in Oregon we’re all about everyone getting along, you should draw the line with your toothbrush and the toothbrush of your partner. You need to keep those two separated. Cold and flu viruses can jump from one toothbrush to another if they’re touching in a dark drawer. So, although we just finished Valentine’s Day, keep those brushes from becoming amorous with each other.

How often to change your toothbrush

Some people keep using their toothbrush until the bristles are flattened like halibut coming in on a boat at Depoe Bay. Bad idea. The American Dental Association 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. At that point, the bristles bend and break down, losing their effectiveness at getting into the tough spots.

Just getting over the flu? Ditch your toothbrush. Germs from your illness can lurk down in the bristles and cause re-infection.

How long should I brush?

If you’re an impatient brusher, this advice can seem like an eternity. Watching the director’s cut of Titanic may seem shorter than brushing for two full minutes, but that’s how long you should brush. 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.

Have more questions about basic oral hygiene? Call the team at Dr. Miller’s, 503-640-9310, and ask away!



Posted in: Oral Health

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