You may think of your toothbrush as nothing special, but it's among the most important tools you use to maintain your health every day. Preventing gum disease and tooth decay is linked to reducing the severity of everything from Alzheimer's to high blood pressure. But a worn-out toothbrush is more of a hazard than a help, and you need to know how to make a toothbrush last. If you aren't sure whether your toothbrush is still in good working order, this post is for you.
A toothbrush that is being used twice a day for two minutes at a time will usually last three to four months. You'll be able to tell when it's not working by whether the bristles are crushed into a flare. At that point, it's no longer reaching between your teeth or scrubbing plaque from around your gum line. However, a toothbrush may need to be replaced sooner if you have reason to think it's been contaminated.
To avoid the growth of mold on a toothbrush, let it dry upright in the open air. Do not keep it in a travel case all the time, and don't let different people's toothbrushes touch each other. You should also replace your toothbrush if you've been sick. It may be possible to clean a standard toothbrush with hot water, and electric toothbrush manufacturers commonly provide devices for cleaning detachable toothbrush heads. But a toothbrush should never be put in the dishwasher or boiling water, or it will become deformed and bacteria will be able to colonize fissures in its handle.
Dr. Roopi Kattaura operates Ardas Family Dental at 10233 S Parker Rd, Suite 205, Parker, Colorado. Call 720-459-8420 or visit Ardas Family Dental and fill out a contact sheet.