We brush our teeth to keep them clean, but what we often don’t think about how many germs are lurking on our toothbrush. Our mouths are full of bacteria; any time a toothbrush is used, these microorganisms can contaminate the toothbrush.
Replace Your Toothbrush Often
A professional orthodontist, who is responsible for helping patients to straighten their teeth, recommends throwing away toothbrushes often. Because viruses and bacteria can linger on toothbrushes for months, you should replace your toothbrush at least every three months or more often if any of the following occur:
- Anyone accidentally uses or borrows your toothbrush
- After having the cold or flu
- When bristles become frayed or worn out
Clean Your Toothbrush Often
In addition to replacing your toothbrush often, it needs to be kept clean. Many people mistake rinsing their toothbrush off after use as a means to properly clean it. Because of the viruses and bacteria that toothbrushes have, they should be deep cleaned at least once a week. To properly clean a toothbrush, simply:
- Rinse it thoroughly after each use
- Soak it in mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher
- Store it upright in a cup or rack to allow it to aerate and dry properly
There are also toothbrush cleaners available for purchase that use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria from the bristles of the toothbrush.
If you currently have braces or are using Invisalign to straighten your teeth, it is especially important to keep your toothbrush clean and to throw it away often. Food particles may get stuck in braces that can lead to tooth decay. These germs can easily be transferred to a toothbrush.
After you have finished treatment with your orthodontist, you will want to keep your new, straight smile clean and decay-free by brushing often and keeping germs away by cleaning your toothbrush and replacing it often.
Contact Us Today
If you have questions or concerns about your or your child’s teeth, or if you would like to get started on a plan for braces or Invisalign, call Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics today so we can get started on your new smile.
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.
She is Board Certified in Orthodontics. She received the American Association of Orthodontics Award for Craniofacial Research and the Harvard Odontological Society Award for Excellence in Research. Her work on preventing decay around braces has been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics.