*This article has been adapted from an article posted by the ADA. You can view the full article here*
Look in just about every bathroom in America and you will find a toothbrush. They come in all shapes and styles, with batteries or without, and with a variety of different bristles - but how much do you really know about your toothbrush?
1. The toothbrush is 5,000 years old. In various forms, that is. Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” a thin twig with a frayed end, to remove food from their teeth. Over time, toothbrushes evolved and were made from bone, wood or ivory handles and stiff bristles of hogs, boars or other animals. The modern nylon-bristled toothbrush we use today was invented in 1938.
2. Manual or powered? Your teeth don’t care - you just need to brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Both types of toothbrush can effectively and thoroughly clean your teeth. People who find it difficult to use a manual toothbrush may find a powered toothbrush more comfortable but it is up to personal preference. Talk to your dentist about which kind is best for you.
3. When it comes to choosing a brush, go soft. Whether you use a manual or powered toothbrush, choose a soft-bristled brush. Firm or even medium-strength bristles may cause damage to your gums and enamel. When brushing your teeth, don’t scrub vigorously—only brush hard enough to clean the film off your teeth. Your fluoride toothpaste will do the rest of the work.
4. A toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do as good of a job cleaning your teeth.
5. Toothbrushes like to be left out in the open. Cleaning your toothbrush is easy: Rinse it with tap water to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store it upright and allow it to air dry. If you store your toothbrush with other toothbrushes, make sure they are separated to prevent cross contamination. And do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of unwanted bacteria than the open air. Sharing is caring, but not for toothbrushes. Sharing a toothbrush can mean you’re also sharing germs and bacteria. This could be a particular concern if you have a cold or flu to spread, or you have a condition that leaves your immune system compromised.
Remember: 2 minutes, 2 times a day. 4 minutes a day goes a long way for your dental health. Put the time in each day to keep your smile healthy and keep up this twice-a-day habit. To learn more about correct brushing technique, please watch the video below or ask our skilled team members to show you what to do.