Celebrate National Toothbrush Day
SUMMARY: National Toothbrush Day, June 26, is the perfect opportunity for you to pick up a new toothbrush and keep your entire mouth healthy.
Posted: June 26, 2013
Did you know that you should change your toothbrush every 90 days? In order for the bristles to be able to scrub away dental plaque without the device having built-up bacteria on it, a clean toothbrush is important. Why not take National Toothbrush Day (June 26) as an opportunity to pick up a new brush and keep those pearly whites fresh and shiny? After all, you use your toothbrush at least twice a day, so that's 180 uses!
According to the American Dental Association, you should be replacing your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if you notice that the bristles have become worn down. Just take a look at the coloring of them. Your mouth is filled with anaerobic bacteria that can transfer to your toothbrush after each use. These bacteria cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease! Think about how long you've had your toothbrush or toothbrush head. If you can't remember, chances are it's time to get a new one.
Luckily, there are no studies that show that the human body is resilient against bacteria that your toothbrush can encounter in the bathroom. There is insufficient proof that the growth of bacteria on your toothbrush will cause bodily harm or other infections.
"It's important to remember that plaque - the stuff you're removing from your teeth - is bacteria. So you're putting bacteria on your toothbrush every time you brush your teeth," dentist Kimberly Harms, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association, said. "Fortunately, the human body is usually able to defend itself from bacteria. So we aren't aware of any real evidence that sitting the toothbrush in your bathroom in the toothbrush holder is causing any real damage or harm. We don't know that the bacteria on there are translating into infections."
However, that's not to say that keeping your toothbrush around for longer than necessary is OK, either. For example, after brushing for three months, the bristles won't have enough scrubbing power to get dental plaque out of crevices and away from the gum line and teeth. This means that you're not getting rid of enough dental plaque if you're using an old brush. When plaque builds up on the teeth, it leads to tartar, gum disease, bad breath and tooth decay. So while it may not affect you in a sense that you will directly notice it, having an old toothbrush can create issues over an extended period of time.
Here are a few helpful tips from the ADA to ensure your toothbrush is handled properly and kept as healthy as possible:
- Always rinse off your toothbrush after you've used it. The mouth is full of anaerobic bacteria and dental plaque that you are trying to get rid of by brushing your teeth. Where do you think it goes afterwards? You can even make a routine of cleaning your toothbrush with warm salt water or hydrogen peroxide every week.
- Don't keep your toothbrush in a closed container. While you might not want to keep it on the counter in the bathroom, a toothbrush that is stored in a tightly closed container may promote the growth of bacteria and microorganisms because many of them thrive in a moist environment.
- Don't share your toothbrush. This may seem obvious, but some people still do it. Even if it is a spouse or family member, you don't want to exchange plaque, bacteria and body fluids through a toothbrush. Now that doesn't make your mouth feel very clean, does it?