A good oral-care routine is a must if you want to avoid gum disease, tooth decay and other dental issues. While regular visits to your dentist are a critical part of a good mouth-care routine, so are at-home dental habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly. The tools you use to brush your teeth are as important as making the habit of brushing twice a day.
Take a look at your current toothbrush. If it’s worn out, too big for your mouth or if the bristles are too hard, it is probably time to get a new one.
When to Get a New Toothbrush
You might know that it’s a good idea to trade up to a new toothbrush every three months. But, that three-month rule is just a guideline. If you’re a particularly vigorous brusher, you might need to replace your brush more often than every three months.
Take a look at the bristles on the brush. If they are no longer straight up and down, but instead pushed to the side, it’s time to get a new brush. Worn out bristles don’t get your teeth as clean as fresh, new ones. They can also irritate your gums more.
Remembering to Replace Your Brush
If you’re staring at your current toothbrush, unsure of how old it is or unsure if the bristles are sufficiently worn, there is an easier way to remember when to get a new brush. Swap out your brush after each dental appointment, if you go every six months. Mark the date that’s midway between each appointment on your calendar and replace your brush on that date, too.
Another option is to replace your toothbrush as the seasons change. On the first day of winter, swap out your toothbrush, then again on the first day of spring, and so on.
Types of Toothbrush
Along with getting a new toothbrush as needed, it’s important that your brush be right for your mouth. Typically, it’s a good idea to go for a brush with soft bristles, rather than medium or hard bristles. Soft bristles do a good job of scrubbing plaque and germs from your teeth, without irritating the gums.
The size of the toothbrush head matters, too. Even if you have a large mouth, the smaller the brush head, the easier it will be to maneuver around your teeth and gums. A smaller brush will make reaching the back molars easier, too.
You can also choose to use an electric toothbrush. Electric brushes might be preferable if you have are hard time brushing your teeth, due to arthritis or weakness in the hands. An electric toothbrush might also be more effective at removing plaque from the surface of the teeth. If your dentist has told you in the past that you have a heavy hand when brushing or brush too hard, an electric toothbrush can help you do a better job of cleaning your teeth, without damaging the enamel or gums.
There are downsides to an electric toothbrush. For one thing, the brushes often cost much more than a manual brush. You also need to replace the brush head as often as you do a regular toothbrush. Replacement brush heads are typically more expensive than standard toothbrushes, too.
Taking good care of your toothbrush will help it work more effectively for longer and will reduce the risk of bacterial contamination. Toothbrushes are usually full of germs.
Some of the bacteria comes from the air around the brush, some of it comes from inside your mouth. Since you might have bacteria or a virus in your mouth that another person doesn’t have, sharing a toothbrush is never a good idea.
Keep your toothbrush cleaner by caring for it well after each use. When you’re finished brushing your teeth, rinse the brush off to remove any toothpaste from the bristles. Shake off the brush to remove excess water. Store the brush upright so that it has a chance to dry. It’s usually a good idea to keep the brush in an open area, instead of tucked away in a medicine cabinet. Giving your brush a chance to dry will cut down considerably on the number of germs on it.
Along with choosing the right brush and replacing it regularly, it’s important to see a dentist on a regular basis. Miami periodontists Dr. John Gallardo can evaluate your mouth for signs of gum disease and recommend the best toothbrush to use to meet your needs. To schedule an appointment at their practice, call (305) 447-1447 today.