August 28, 2013

Care for Your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush is loaded with germs.  The University of Manchester found one uncovered toothbrush can harbor more than 100 million bacteria, including E. coli, which can cause diarrhea and staphylococci, which causes skin infections.  Even though your mouth is a veritable treasure trove of bacteria, and the plaque you are using the brush to remove from your teeth is bacteria, your body's defenses make it unlikely to catch an infection from tooth brushing.

Toothbrush Storage   

However, some tips for toothbrush storage are in order:  
  • Don't brush where you flush:  since toilets spray bacteria  into the air, store your toothbrush as far from the toilet as possible.  
  •  Wash your hands:  you wouldn't eat after going to the bathroom without first washing your hands, so do the same before brushing.   
  • Keep it rinsed:  wash the brush thoroughly after use.   
  • Keep it dry:  since bacteria love a moist environment, give it a chance to dry between brushings.  
  • Keep it upright:  store it upright in a holder, rather than lying down.  
  • Keep it to yourself:  don't share it with another person, and keep it away from other brushes so they don't swap germs.   

Replace Your Toothbrush

There is no proof that toothbrush sanitizers work.  No brush can be completely cleaned.  The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months.  If the bristles become frayed, you're sick, or you have a weak immune system, throw it out more often.  If you use an electric toothbrush, throw out the head as often as you would discard a disposable toothbrush. 

Adapted from: webmd     

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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