How to Care for, and Use, Your Toothbrush

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In Up from Slavery Booker T. Washington said “In all my teaching I have watched carefully the influence of the tooth-brush, and I am convinced that there are few single agencies of civilization that are more far-reaching.”

Clean Brush, Healthy Mouth

To keep your toothbrush and yourself healthy, make sure you let it dry out between uses. Toothbrushes can be a breeding ground for Bactria, and fungi, which over time can build up to significant levels. After using your toothbrush, rinse it vigorously under tap water and store it in an upright position – allowing it to dry. To prevent cold and flu viruses from being passed between brushes, try to keep your toothbrush from touching others when it is stored.

You should change your toothbrush a minimum of every three months or sooner if it is worn. Studies show after three months of normal wear and tear, toothbrushes are much less effective at removal of bacteria from teeth and gums. The bristles break down and lose their effectiveness in getting to all the small surfaces of the tooth.

It is also important to change toothbrushes after you have had a sickness. Germs can hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to reinfection, so it is a good idea to dispose of the brush when the illness has passed. A healthy mouth leads to a healthy body.

Toothbrush Technique

To brush properly, place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle pointing towards the gums and either brush upwards – toward the biting surface of the tooth, or brush in a circular motion. This does two things, it massages the gums stimulating blood flow and gently rubs away the bacteria that has built up on the teeth since the last brushing.