Are You Following Proper Toothbrush Etiquette?

For as much attention as you give to the proper methods of brushing and flossing your teeth, are you also considering proper toothbrush etiquette in your daily routine? As it turns out, your toothbrush is a breeding ground for a variety of bacteria, and it’s more important than you may realize to care for your toothbrush and swap it regularly.

The Dirty Truth

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology recently revealed that the mouth contains a startling 700 species of bacteria. These bacteria are often spread when you share a cup with someone else, cough, and sneeze, and they also transfer to your toothbrush during your daily oral care routine. Not all of the forms of bacteria are harmful, but some like E. Coli and staph are notorious for causing infections and illnesses.

Don’t Share Toothbrushes

It’s always miserable to be away from home and realize you forgot to pack your toothbrush. Going to bed with a dirty mouth and waking up with awful morning breath isn’t a preferable option, but experts warn that sharing a toothbrush with a friend or family member is an equally bad choice. You can pick up anything from the common cold or strep throat to herpes and pneumonia by sharing a toothbrush, because so many minor and major illnesses are transferred via saliva. Instead of putting yourself at this risk, brush with your finger or use a wet washcloth says Dr. Steven Obrochta, a St. petersburg dentist local to the area.

Use Proper Cleaning Techniques

You wouldn’t take a dirty fork right out of the sink and use it to eat your dinner, and the same rule should apply to a dirty toothbrush. It is important to properly clean your toothbrush every morning and night in order to minimize the bacteria that might grow while you’re gone. Fortunately, this process is pretty simple. The American Dental Association recommends rinsing your toothbrush with warm water after use and storing it upright. Every week, it helps to rinse your toothbrush with baking soda for a deep, thorough cleaning. After three months has passed, toss your used toothbrush and replace it with a new one.

These simple preventative measures will help you keep your mouth even healthier!