We are all aware that proper brushing twice daily and flossing at bedtime are the preventative measures to keep our teeth strong and healthy. This week we will focus on the toothbrush, which really does all the work.
Toothbrushes should be soft, to decrease abrasion and irritation to the gums. Soft bristles are best, they can reach tighter spaces, and do less damage to gums. Brush teeth in a circular motion. Floss daily.
Maintaining your Toothbrush
- You should replace your toothbrush about every three months or sooner if the toothbrush bristles show signs of wear.
- Best to replace toothbrush after any illness.
- Bristles that are frayed or damaged are ineffective and may harbor harmful bacteria that could increase the risk of periodontal disease. As toothbrushes wear, they lose their effectiveness.
- Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval, which governs sharpness of bristles, bristle retention and other safety parameters.
Yuck! Here are some hygiene tips to consider when caring for your toothbrush:
- Store your toothbrush in an upright position after each use and allow them to air dry. Storing a moist toothbrush in a closed container promotes growth of germs. Leave it exposed to the open air.
- We all store our toothbrushes on the sink in the bathroom. Toothbrushes do harbor bacteria including fecal bacteria that can be “sprayed” into the air when the toilet is flushed or can be spread to the toothbrush when cross contaminated with another bathroom surface.
- Although probably not necessary, you can disinfect your toothbrush by soaking in regular Listerine (26.9% alcohol) or hydrogen peroxide 3% solution
Both manual and powered toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque. Remember as with manual toothbrushes, to replace the brush head every 3-4 months. Although the powered toothbrushes are more expensive, they might have the following advantages over the manual toothbrush:
- People who have dexterity problems—like the elderly, people with disabilities, or children—or
- Ease of use for patients with dental appliances such as braces
- A variety of powered toothbrushes that use a different types of head movement (side-to-side, counter oscillation, rotation oscillation, circular, ultrasonic) are available.
- People brush longer with the powered toothbrush. Most have a two-minute timer to insure brushing duration is adequate.
Both types of tooth brushes are effective. Your Thompson Pharmacist is a great resource, along with your dentist in keeping your smile bright! At Thompson Pharmacy, we’ll keep you smiling—it’s all for YOU!