Care of your Toothbrush

You have just had an extraction and this information is to compliment what has just been explained to you in surgery, so don’t worry that you did not remember all of what we have just gone through. Below is an aftercare list which we recommend you follow for the next two weeks.

We have always stressed on the importance of observing personal oral hygiene: twice-a-day brushing for two minutes, daily flossing and tongue scraping, and always will, but we must also consider our hygiene regime for the products we use to keep our mouths clean. Most such as floss and small interdental brushes are single use disposable items but not our toothbrushes. To make sure that we get the most out of our toothbrushes, we must make sure we maintain and care for them properly.

The mouth is home to different types of bacteria, and these are transferred to toothbrushes during use. Toothbrushes can also pick up bacteria that are present in the air and the environment where they are kept. Bear in mind that where there is running water, there will be an associated aerosol containing bacteria from that water source …. that includes when you flush your toilet.

These are general recommendations of the American Dental Association and the Council on Scientific Affairs for toothbrush care:

  1. Replace your toothbrush approximately every 3–4 months or sooner if the bristles become frayed and worn with use.
  2. Check your children’s toothbrushes for frays and wears. Children’s toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adults’.
  3. Never share your toothbrush. Sharing it could result in an exchange of body fluids and microorganisms between you and the other person.
  4. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water after use to remove remaining toothpaste and other debris. Keep it in an upright position and allow it to air-dry until it’s time to brush again.
  5. If you and your family share the same holder, do not allow your toothbrushes to be in contact with each other to avoid risks of cross-contamination.
  6. Do not routinely cover your toothbrush or keep it stored in a closed container. A moist environment is more susceptible bacterial growth than the open air.
  7. Regularly clean and if possible, disinfect your tooth brush holder.
  8. Use a toothbrush holder that allows any surface water to run off the toothbrush so if you are using a cup, make sure there is no water at the bottom. Make sure your brush is not bathing in a soup of bacteria sourced from other family member’s mouths.
  9. Keep your brush as far away as practicable from the toilet and reduce it’s aerosol by flushing with the lid closed.

Some cleaning methods including dishwasher or microwave use could damage your toothbrush. It may not be designed to withstand such cleaning conditions, and consequently reduce the effectiveness of your toothbrush. If you are in doubt about the cleanliness of your toothbrush, change it.