February 20, 2007
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
Toothbrush Care and Replacement – Some Helpful Tips
Regular toothbrushing is an essential tool for maintaining good oral hygiene for both children and adults alike. As such, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) believes it important to inform the public about good toothbrush care and what you can do to reduce the amount of germs buying real estate on your toothbrush.
Your mouth is home to hundreds of various types of microorganisms (germs) that can jump onto your toothbrush, not just during use, but also in between uses while your brush is being stored. Believe it or not, your toothbrush may be home to bacteria even before being removed from the box, as manufacturers are not required to sell them in sterile packaging.
There are things you can do to ensure proper toothbrush care. The American Dental Association (ADA) and the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs offer the following recommendations:
- Do not share
toothbrushes. Just like you can pass the cold or flu to
someone, sharing toothbrushes may result in bodily fluids (and thus
infection) being passed from one person to another.
- Rinsing toothbrushes after use. Rinse your
toothbrush with tap water after each use to remove any remaining
toothpaste and debris.
- Storing your
toothbrush. Store your toothbrush in an upright position and
allow it to air dry. If storing multiple brushes, keep them separated to
prevent germs from being spread from one toothbrush to another. In
addition, do not cover toothbrushes or store them in a closed container
as this helps to provide a moist environment for germs to grow.
- Replacing your toothbrush. Most dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush every three months. Keep in mind that a child’s toothbrush often needs to be replaced more often than that of an adult. Also, continually check your toothbrush for signs of wear, such as frayed bristles, which is a sign that your toothbrush needs to be replaced. Remember, a worn toothbrush is less effective in doing its job - cleaning your teeth and removing plaque.
Remember to visit your PDA member dentist regularly and ask any additional questions regarding proper toothbrush care or other oral health care topics.
About the Pennsylvania
Founded in 1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately 6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association (ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA’s mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients. PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. Learn more about PDA.