With the new year almost upon us, we often start thinking of complex resolutions like exercising more, eating better, or reading a new book every month. Whatever your resolutions are, make properly replacing your dental hygiene tools one of them. Whether it’s your toothbrush, the floss you've had for 5 years, or the tongue scraper your aunt recommended, these things all become worn and collect bacteria over time. We’re going to give you the scoop on why you should start this year fresh.
You might not realize what’s lurking on your brush!Did you know the average toothbrush can contain up to 10 million or more bacteria? This includes E. coli, Staphylococcus, and every other strain of oral bacteria that lives in your mouth! This is why it is important to regularly replace your and your family’s ruddy little brushes as soon as the bristles start to fray or split, or after 3 months, whichever comes first.
Toothbrush or not toothbrushToothbrush hygiene is an important part of your oral health plan. We’ve compiled a checklist of our top 5 most important toothbrush hygiene tips to start your new year on the right foot.
- Never store your toothbrush within 3 feet of a toilet. If you leave your toothbrush near the toilet, you could be putting your brush at risk for splashing contaminated water droplets every time your flush––we know this is super gross! If you have a tiny bathroom, always put the seat down before flushing and try to store your toothbrush as far from the toilet as possible to avoid these yucky germs.
- Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after every use. After you are done brushing, ensure that you rinse your brush thoroughly with water to remove debris and toothpaste from your bristles.
- Never share a toothbrush with someone else. This is a golden rule! Even if you are married, your mouths contain unique bacteria that are not shared when kissing, contrary to popular belief. Further, when you brush and floss, you can transmit dangerous blood-borne pathogens like Hepatitis B. If you’re in a pinch, floss and rinse your mouth with mouthwash or toothpaste instead of reaching for someone else’s brush.
- Don’t store your brush in a travel container. Damp environments are a breeding ground for bacteria. Always remove your toothbrush from its travel case promptly and give it a rinse before using it. We also recommend storing your toothbrush somewhere other than the shower. Always rinse your toothbrush and place it in an open container, in an upright position so that it can dry between uses.
- Always replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick. All the extra germs from your cold or flu or even an infected tooth can remain on your toothbrush. While there isn’t any direct evidence suggesting this will have any adverse effects, we recommend erring on the side of health and replacing your toothbrush after being sick.