Is your toothbrush really clean enough to put in your mouth? What if you knew that recent research has counted as many as 10 million germs all congregating between the bristles of your toothbrush head. The germs and bacteria can live here quite happily even using your toothbrush as a breeding ground for more miniscule microorganisms.
Before you decide to never but that bacteria infested breeding ground back in your mouth, you should know that these bacteria are not a big threat to your oral hygiene. Dr. Richard Price, DMD working out of Newton Mass., says that these bacteria discovered on the toothbrush wonít actually make you sick.
Toothpaste has anti-bacterial agents in its ingredients, these microbes live in moisture and if you give your toothbrush plenty of time to dry you should be safe.
Tips to Keep your Toothbrush in Squeaky-Clean Condition
The best way to keep your toothbrush free of bacteria is to use it correctly, rinse it well with clean water and let it air dry completely, says Dr. Richard Price.
This begins with the correct storage; your toothbrush should be kept upright in a holder never lying on a bathroom surface. You donít have to worry about storing your brush away from other brushes, first of all because germs are airborne, also because germs donít habitually leave one brush for another. If you or someone in the house suffers from an immune deficiency, all necessary preventative measures should be taken to avoid contamination.
If dental hygiene is a point of personal concern and the thought of bacteria is making you sick, you can easily eliminate the bacteria population by soaking your toothbrush in alcohol. Mouthwash is an excellent antibacterial rinse as well. You could also soak your brush in a mixture of half water and half hydrogen peroxide. Boiling your toothbrush is also an effective germ killer.
Oddly enough so-called ìtoothbrush sanitizersî are not nearly as effective as they are hyped up to be. Never try to sanitize you toothbrush in a dishwasher or a microwave oven because you will only succeed in ruining your toothbrush permanently.
When is it Time for a New Toothbrush?
According to the American Dental Association it is recommended that you replace your toothbrush (or if you own the electrical variety, just the head bit) every 3 to 4 months. This time frame is more concerned with the damage to the bristles rather than the bacteria count.
This also depends on the kind of brusher you are. If you fight for your dental hygiene with heavy handed ferocity in your brushing methods you may need to replace your toothbrush even sooner. The signs to change your toothbrush come from the condition that your toothbrush is in not the date you bought it. Bristles that spread every which way are a sign that a tooth brush needs to be replaced.
Childrenísí toothbrushes should be checked regularly being as they will need to be replaced more frequently.
Should your toothbrush be replaced after a bout of illness, like the flu? This will not be necessary, says Dr. Richard Price, as long as your toothbrush is given ample time to dry and thereby kill all disease carrying microbes.
Reminders to help you Remember
Besides eyeballing your toothbrush every so often to search for visible signs of bristle wear and tear; some of the more sophisticated toothbrushes will actually change the colors of their bristles to indicate it is time to be replaced.
You could also form a habit of changing toothbrushes with each trip to the dentists (that is if you schedule bi annual visits to your dentist as recommended) and another replacement half way between visits.
However you choose to remember, donít forget to regularly replace your toothbrush for optimal oral hygiene.