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Every day you spend some time brushing and flossing your teeth, in your efforts to keep tooth decay and gum disease away. And while you throw away any used up floss, you won’t want to do that with your toothbrush.

You will however want to take care to keep your toothbrush clean, by rinsing well with warm water after every brushing. Not only are you getting rid of toothpaste residue when you rinse, but you are also flushing away oral bacteria, saliva, blood and oral debris that can transfer to your toothbrush.

The American Dental Association recommends that you do the following to care for your toothbrush:

No. 1. Don’t share your toothbrush. Sharing toothbrushes allows the exchange of body fluids along with bacteria in the mouth, cross contaminating if someone has an infection, a compromised immune system, or an infectious disease.

No. 2. After brushing, rinse well with warm water and leave your toothbrush upright in a container. Make certain the bristles are exposed to air by not touching anything. They need to be able to dry in between uses. If your toothbrush holder is being shared with anyone else, make sure the bristles avoid contact.

No. 3. Keep your toothbrush uncovered. Although there are toothbrush covers available, they trap moisture in them which makes them a breeding ground for bacteria. It is important to let your toothbrush dry after each use to limit bacterial growth.

No. 4. With repeated use, toothbrush bristles wear down and splay, making them ineffective for teeth cleaning. Inspect the bristles often to make sure they are in good shape, and be sure to replace your toothbrush if they are not. Replace your old toothbrush every 3-4 months as well to make sure your teeth are getting properly cleaned.

No. 5. Don’t sanitize your toothbrush in a microwave or dishwasher as they can damage the toothbrush, and make the bristles less effective. These appliances were not designed to protect toothbrushes.

No. 6. Although it is not necessary to soak your toothbrush in a solution after each use, you can soak it in an antibacterial mouthwash once a week to lower bacteria levels.

As you take good care of your toothbrush, it will do the job of caring for your pearly whites for a long time. If you have questions or concerns, we invite you to reach out to Vernon Woods Dental Care Associates at 404-692-7913 today!