When should I replace my Toothbrush?

Woman holding a tooth brushIs 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.

Managing Burning Mouth syndrome

UnknownYou have probably sipped a cup of coffee that was too hot or tried soup that didn’t cool down, and scalded your tongue and mouth. This is only temporary, but it is an unpleasant feeling that you have probably dealt with and forgotten about. However, if you feel this sensation on a regular basis and all day long, then you might have Burning Mouth Syndrome.

Around 5% of Americans are affected with BMS, short for Burning Mouth Syndrome, and it often affects the lower lip and the top of the tongue, as well as the mouth’s roof. Asides from the burning feeling you will likely experience, you might also feel a gritty feeling in your mouth. Changes in your taste buds could also be affected by BMS.

As of now, the cause of the condition is not known. However, there has been some researched done and some believe that it is a neuropathic condition. However, there some culprits, asides from general damage to nerves, that are behind the condition.

Some of the other culprits include having a nutritional deficiencies, such as having a lack of zinc, iron and vitamin B12. Various medications and some conditions such as diabetes, can lead to a dry mouth and so can hormonal changes. Also, Candidiasis can be the culprit, and so can acid reflux.

There may be a link between BMS and anxiety, as well as depression. However, there is more research that is needed before it can be determined if these conditions can cause BMS. As for treatment options, there may be a few for you.

The first thing you will want to do is to visit your primary care physician and have them review your medical history, as well as receive a physical exam, as these can help find what is causing your mouth to burn. The tests you may do include blood tests, which can determine if you have vitamin deficiencies, as well as infections or underlying conditions. You might be tested for allergies.

The treatment that you will receive depends on what exactly is causing BMS. If it is dry mouth causing it, then medications designed to treat dry mouth may help you. If it is a vitamin deficiency, then you might end up taking vitamins as a form of treatment. You might also have to stop using a new toothpaste or mouthwash that you recently switched to, and if that is when BMS first started.

If diabetes or a thyroid problem is the cause of BMS, then your doctor will address the problem. Sometimes, people are prescribed medicine to help relieve pain from nerve damage. Essentially, your doctor will let you know what you can do to treat BMS.

There are also steps you can take to treat BMS. For example, you can drink water on a regular basis and instead of chewing regular gum, go for gum that has no sugar in it. Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Staying away from foods that are acidity, hot and spicy is also a good idea.

The good news is that BMS is not a life or death matter, but it is a quality of life matter. It can be uncomfortable dealing with it on a regular basis, and one of the best things you can do is to visit your dentist. They might be able to help you out, or you can find a doctor who has experience with dealing with patients who have had BMS, as they may be able to help you out.

Will I get Cleaner Teeth with an Ergonomic Toothbrush?

original_447679_MVzFz9iM5ss7LkJoOR74zqeTuThe modern toothbrush was originally invented way back in 1938 and since then the daily practice of tooth brushing hasnít changed much. The toothbrush itself on the other hand has undergone dynamic changes. Walk down the oral hygiene section of your local supermarket and marvel at the many different models available each with their own specialized advantages.

The science at the heart of toothbrush evolution, according to the manufacturers, is ergonomics ñ this is the science of how the functional design of the implements can improve the usefulness for the people who use them. Specially designed ergonomic toothbrushes have a handle designed to increase the efficiency of the job.

There are many styles and varieties of ergonomic toothbrushes for both manual and electronic types. Manufactures who produce them say the special designs will enhance oral hygiene and create a more comfortable cleaning process. Some are reputed to give the gums a stimulating massage while cleaning the teeth. Ergonomic toothbrushes also last longer than their traditional counter parts.

But how do all these promised advantages actually perform? New York City Dentist Dr. Catrise Austin DDS, of VIP Smiles, says that the molded handles that the ergonomic toothbrushes have are lighter and give a better grip so you can hold a brush more comfortably. The heads are also designed for an improved cleaning process. Some models will have bristles that form a convex shape enabling a good cleaning for lower front teeth.

ìErgonomic toothbrushes have been developed to make the job easier, especially when cleaning harder to reach areas of the mouth. Cleaning the lower front teeth or the back molars on the top is easier accomplished with a light-weight easy to grip toothbrushî, explains Dr. Catrise Austin.

Traditional Models vs. Ergonomic Toothbrushes.

Other than the comfort factor however, an ergonomic toothbrush does not promise any huge cleaning advantages over the simple flat shaped cleaning implement. Most of us will never even notice the differences. ìIf you have a good teeth cleaning technique the toothbrush you use will not matter that much,î says Dr. Austin.
Ergonomic toothbrushes are best for people who have not yet developed the manual dexterity required to properly clean their teeth, more specifically small kids who are still developing their techniques. People with reduced motor skills such as those recovering from a stroke or suffering from a stroke may also benefit from the comfort and design of an ergonomic toothbrush.

Not the Brush but the Method of Brushing

According to Dr. Catrise Austin, the cleanliness level and efficiency of a good tooth brushing job is more dependent on the methods or practices you employ rather than the brush you choose to use. For best results, she says, you should brush three times a day. ìBrushing after each meal will ensure reduced levels of plaque and will avoid the formation of painful cavities.î

Flossing your teeth is also highly recommended. If your personal location or schedules do not allow you to brush after each meal chewing sugar-free gums or rinsing with mouthwash can also promote oral hygiene.

For best results when brushing your teeth it is a good idea to spend at least two full minutes reaching every area of your mouth. But be careful you heavy handed brushers, being overly assertive on your pearly whites will actually damage their protective enamel and begin to cause staining and sensitivity. This can be best avoided by choosing a brush with softer bristles.

Whether you choose to use an ergonomic toothbrush or a regular type, it is important to remember to replace worn toothbrushes at regular intervals. A toothbrush with bristles that point in every direction except up is probably overdue for replacement.