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4 Essential Toothbrush Tips

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Most people consider toothbrushes to be one of the simplest objects to use around the home. However, there are a few considerations for choosing, storing, and replacing a toothbrush that are easy to overlook. Here are four essential toothbrush tips that everyone should know.

Soft Bristles are Best for Most People

The idea that firm bristles are more effective for removing plaque from your teeth may seem like common sense, but this is actually not the case. Most dental professionals agree that soft bristle toothbrushes are very effective for cleaning teeth if you brush for two minutes twice a day.

If you are using a stiff bristle toothbrush, you may be doing more harm to your mouth than good. Stiff bristles are much more likely to make your gums bleed, even when using normal pressure to brush your teeth. Over time, the irritation caused by stiff bristle toothbrushes can lead to gum recession that exposes the roots of your teeth and causes increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods.

Manual Vs. Electric Toothbrushes

The question of whether manual or electric toothbrushes are more effective does not have a clear-cut answer, and the best type of toothbrush for you will depend on a number of factors. If you have a "don't fix what isn't broken" mentality, you will likely be satisfied with manual toothbrushes, saving yourself some money in the process.

On the other hand, using an electric toothbrush can motivate some people to brush more regularly than they would with a manual brush. Electric brushes undoubtedly require less effort to use, and many come with convenient features like timers that tell you when you have brushed long enough. Most people also brush less vigorously with an electric toothbrush since the brush does most of the work. This reduces the amount of stress that brushing causes on the gums, making gum recession less likely to occur.

How to Correctly Store a Toothbrush

Some homeowners use a single cup on the bathroom sink to store all of the toothbrushes in the house. While this may seem convenient and harmless, it is actually very unhygienic. Dental researchers have categorized tooth decay as a contagious disease, so if the bristles of your toothbrushes touch it could spread decay-causing bacteria to others in your home.

The best way to safely store the toothbrushes in your home is to stand each of them upright in separate containers. Rinse the brush first to remove any toothpaste and debris that is clinging to the bristles, and then put it in a cup or rack so that the water will drain off of the bristles. If a toothbrush remains moist, bacteria can grow in the bristles between uses. Store the brushes in a place with adequate air circulation so that the bristles will dry, but make sure that they are at least six feet away from the toilet to protect them from bacteria that aerosolizes when the toilet is flushed.

Replace Your Toothbrush Frequently

Toothbrushes wear out faster than many people realize, and you should be sure to replace them frequently so that they remain effective at cleaning your teeth. In general, you should replace a toothbrush at least every three months, or as soon as you notice that the bristles have become frayed. Additionally, you should replace a toothbrush that you have been using when you were sick as soon as the illness subsides. This will prevent you from reinfecting yourself with bacteria that has been caught in the bristles.

Using the right toothbrush, storing it safely, and replacing it regularly is important for maintaining good dental health. Click here for more information and keep these tips in mind so that you can have the bright, healthy smile you deserve.