How old is your toothbrush? The answer can affect your overall health

Dr. Angela Seabright
Adriane Davis

| 2 min read

You brush three times a day, floss and use mouthwash, which is all you need to do for good oral hygiene, right?
Have you thought about how are you taking care of you toothbrush? There are myths and facts about toothbrush hygiene, here are four that will help keep your mouth happy and healthy.
Myth: You should throw away your toothbrush after you’ve been sick.
According to scientist, Charles Gerba, Ph. D., you don’t have to change your toothbrush after you have had an illness. While it is true that your toothbrush does have a micro bacterium that stays on the toothbrush after an illness, the fact is, you can’t get sick from the same illness twice.
Fact: Keep your toothbrush at least six feet away from your toilet.
If you keep your toothbrush in a holder only a few feet away from your toilet, you may have some lingering bacteria on your toothbrush. If your toothbrush is less than six feet away from your toilet, you are leaving yourself open to bacteria that can land onto the bristles of your toothbrush. Keep a cover on your toothbrush and as far away from the toilet as possible.
Myth: You can microwave your toothbrush to disinfect it.
You should never microwave your toothbrush or put it in the dishwasher. When a toothbrush is exposed to excessive heat, harmful chemicals are released and can have negative effects on your health. Toothbrush bristles are made from nylon and can be frayed and destroyed if disinfected improperly. If you think that your toothbrush needs to be cleaned, a small amount of soap or baking soda and hot water will do the trick.
Myth: I only have to change my toothbrush every six months.
Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. This goes for electronic toothbrush heads as well. After daily use, the bristles get frayed and become ineffective for cleaning the teeth and gums properly.
Photo credit: Eszter Hargittai

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