You’ve used a toothbrush to care for your teeth your whole life. But do you know how to care for your toothbrush? Test your knowledge with these myths and facts:
Myth: Rinsing a toothbrush cleanses it of any bacteria.
Fact: While it is a good idea to thoroughly rinse a toothbrush after using it to clear it of any debris or toothpaste, water cannot remove germs the brush has picked up in your mouth. For this reason, it is important to not let your toothbrush lean against or touch another person’s toothbrush. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, toothbrushes should be allowed to air dry and stored in an upright position, away from other brushes.
Myth: It is OK to share a toothbrush with a family member.
Fact: Sharing toothbrushes increases your risk for infection because it allows for an exchange of body fluids (saliva). This is especially important to remember for people who have contagious diseases or weakened immune systems.
Myth: It is a good idea to soak a toothbrush in mouthwash to disinfect it.
Fact: In addition to not being necessary, soaking toothbrushes in mouthwash can eventually lead to cross-contamination, either because multiple people’s brushes have touched the same solution or because the same person has exposed a brush to the solution over an extended period of time.
Myth: Toothbrushes should be disinfected in a dishwasher or microwave.
Fact: Putting a toothbrush through a cycle in the dishwasher or microwave can damage the brush.
Myth: Toothbrushes must only be replaced after each visit to the dentist.
Fact: It is important to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months – or sooner if the brush appears to be splayed. The CDC suggests that the mechanical effectiveness of a brush is reduced after a few months of wear, therefore decreasing its ability to eliminate plaque.
For more information about the proper care of toothbrushes, talk to a dentist on your True Care Advantage discount dental plan.