Your toothbrush is one of your most personal items. It’s the only thing you actually stick inside your body at least twice per day. So why are most people so cavalier when it comes to selecting a toothbrush? Many people will simply pick up the least expensive option or wait for their dentist to give them a toothbrush for free before changing out their toothbrush.
You should put as much care into choosing your toothbrush as you do for any other item you use every day, such as your smartphone or your car. Maybe even more care because the quality of your toothbrush can affect your oral health. This, in turn, can affect your overall health. So as you can see, determining how to pick the right toothbrush is pretty important!
Start Soft and Work Your Way Up
For most people, a toothbrush with soft bristles is more comfortable than one with medium to hard bristles. Soft bristles don’t hurt when they brush up against your gums and the surfaces of your teeth. But soft bristles don’t do as much to remove plaque, food particles, and harmful bacteria from the flat surfaces of your teeth and between your teeth.
A good policy is to start soft and work your way progressively harder until you find a stiffer bristled toothbrush that is comfortable enough to use. But don’t take it too far. If you use a toothbrush that has bristles that are so tough that they actually damage the gums, root surface and your protective tooth enamel, you are going to have more problems than you want!
Small Is Good
When it comes to the head of the toothbrush, the most important quality is maneuverability. You need to be able to get the brushes on every surface of the teeth – including those hard to reach places in the back of your mouth and behind your rear teeth.
Toothbrushes that have a long, wide head aren’t as effective as those with smaller heads. And those that have bristles at different heights are even better for penetrating the areas where food particles and other bad stuff can hide.
Look for the “Use By” Strip
Toothbrush technology has actually improved quite a lot in the past several years. There are new toothbrushes available that have a blue stripe down the middle that actually tells you when it’s time to replace your toothbrush.
The pressure of the everyday wear of the toothbrush actually causes a tiny bit of this colorful strip to wear away each time you brush. So after a designated period when the bristles have lost their tension and their ability to effectively clean your teeth optimally, the blue stripe will be faded and you will know that it’s time to go toothbrush shopping once again!
Replacing Your Toothbrush
But what should you do if your toothbrush doesn’t have the blue stripe? How can you tell when it’s time to change out your toothbrush for a fresh one?
There are two ways: First, you can tell by looking at your toothbrush. If the bristles are bent or frayed, it’s probably time for a new one. Second, you can go by your calendar. Most toothbrushes are designed to last about three months. After that, they start to wear down faster and lose their effectiveness at removing food particles and plaque from on and between your teeth.
So every time you buy a new toothbrush to replace your existing one, simply create a calendar event on your smartphone to remind you in 90 days that it’s time to get a new one. Or you can go “old school” and simply write it on the wall calendar – but that’s so 20th Century!
Keeping Your Toothbrush Clean
When you think about it, you put your toothbrush in your mouth, wait half a day then do it all over again. Gross, right?!
Actually, it is pretty disgusting. A toothbrush can hold as many as 10 million germs and bacteria. The good news is that most of these are not dangerous because most toothpastes include a mild germ-killing component that neutralizes these bad guys.
But you can make your toothbrush even safer between brushes by making sure it’s completely dry between brushes. After you finished brushing, rinse off the excess toothpaste and other particles under fresh running water. Then simply use your finger to remove any remaining liquid by brushing it about 20 times before putting it back into your toothbrush holder.
And always store your toothbrushes so that the heads are facing up. This helps air dry them more quickly.
Finally, if you are recovering from a cold, the flu, or other contagious illness, avoid reusing your toothbrush once you get better or you could potentially re-infect yourself. Simply throw it away and start over with a new one.
About the Author – This guest article is a work of John Johnson in support of Thantakit International Dental Center. If you're on the lookout for a dentist in Thailand that's experienced yet affordable, Thantakit dental center would indeed be the perfect choice.
Image Source: Boians Cho Joo Young/FreeDigitalPhotos.net