Your toothbrush goes in your mouth twice a day, every day (if you’re taking care of your teeth correctly, which you should be!), so it’s important to take care of your toothbrush properly, too. From where you leave it to how you leave it, how you use it to how often you replace it, your oral health depends on how well you care for your toothbrush. Here is everything you need to know about toothbrush care.

Toothbrushes Should Have a 1-to-1 Ratio

Sharing a toothbrush increases your risk of getting sick and sharing gingivitis-causing bacteria. One toothbrush should have only one mouth to clean.

Store Your Toothbrush Properly

Where and how you store your toothbrush makes a big difference in how much bacteria is on it when you brush your teeth. Make sure your toothbrush is stored in an upright position, placed in such a way that it won’t touch any other toothbrushes. Also, it should be placed in a clean area with good ventilation. If you keep it covered, the moisture doesn’t leave the toothbrush and bacteria and mold can grow on it.

Clean Your Toothbrush on a Regular Basis

Wash your hands before brushing your teeth. Then, rinse your toothbrush under the faucet before and after each use, scraping your finger against the bristles of the toothbrush while rinsing it. This will reduce or eliminate excess toothpaste and residue. Shake it out after rinsing it so it will dry faster (there’s no sense in letting that bacteria-growing moisture hang around any longer than it has to). Every so often, you may want to soak the head of your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash, but don’t soak it in a mouthwash container or cap, and clean the container after each use to prevent cross-contamination. Also, do not use the same solution to rinse multiple toothbrushes.

DO NOT put your toothbrush in the microwave or dishwasher or use an ultraviolet device to disinfect your toothbrush. According to the CDC, this can actually damage your toothbrush, rendering it less effective.

Face It: You’ll Have to Replace It

Whether you use a traditional toothbrush or an electric one, you should replace the toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-4 months. If you’re unsure of when to replace your toothbrush (head), use your eyes. Do the bristles look frayed? If the bristles were colorful, has the color faded? Is the area around the bristles looking dingy? When in doubt, throw it out and replace it with a new one.

Get Your Teeth Cleaned Twice a Year

Save your toothbrush the extra work by getting your teeth cleaned by your dentist twice a year. A dental cleaning will get rid of tartar and plaque, giving your toothbrush the chance to do what it does best in between cleanings. If you’re looking for an experienced dental office to call home, schedule an appointment with us at the Covington Center for Family Dentistry. Call us at (678) 306-6000 or fill out our short online contact form.

We look forward to getting to know you and your family!