Consider Changing Your Toothbrush

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , , ,

Does your toothbrush look like you’ve been cleaning all the statues in New York City?

Do the bristles go in every direction, like a cartoon depicting someone’s hair while they get shocked by electricity?

Does the receipt for your toothbrush show it actually was purchased many years ago at a 5 and 10 cent store for only a dime?

Maybe it’s time to consider starting fresh and tossing your old friend and replacing it with a new toothbrush.  Studies have shown that the germs in your mouth easily contaminate the bristles, and get spread around as you brush your teeth.

It is wise to rinse the brush after using, and allow the brush to dry out first before using it again, since this will help control the spread of these germs. The use of two brushes, alternating between them, will help this process.  In a healthy person, you should replace the brush every three-four months.

Patients who have colds (or flu virus) should replace the toothbrush when the cold is over.  People with chronic conditions as well as those with oral inflammatory conditions, i.e. gum disease, should replace their toothbrushes more frequently as well as immersing their brushes into an antimicrobial mouthwash for 15-20 seconds when done using them.

Toothpastes containing triclosan appear to significantly reduce the microbial contamination on the brush.  Do not store toothbrushes in a room that has a toilet as it has been shown that flushing sends up a large amount of tiny droplets, which could contaminate the brush.

Electric toothbrush heads should be changed just as often.  If the person has braces on, then change the head every two-three months.

Toothbrushes are a vital element in maintaining good oral hygiene but they do need to be cleaned and replaced on a timely basis to be as effective as possible.