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Words of Wisdom

Dr. Tam's Rambles on about Teeth Wisdom

May 13, 2014

How to reduce bacteria growth on your toothbrush?

The other day I witnessed something a dentist should not witness in his own home.  My son finished brushing his teeth with the utmost care and then proceeded to rinse his toothbrush...for a second!  All that bacteria and debris left on the toothbrush will allow the bacteria to just multiply.

Bacterial growth on your toothbrush can easily transfer back to your mouth and ultimately affect your health.

You should thoroughly rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Also soaking your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouth rinse has been shown to decrease the level of bacteria that grow on toothbrushes.

Do not store your toothbrush in a closed container or cover your toothbrush.  Allow your toothbrush time to dry.  A damp environment is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms. Store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air dry until next time. Keep your family’s toothbrushes separate to prevent cross-contamination.

Your toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months or when bristles become frayed and worn.

See your dentist.  Dental care including regular dental cleanings, can reduce the overall bacterial load in your mouth, and the types of bacteria present, and can therefore reduce bacteria on your toothbrush. It is especially important for those with gum disease, as the oral bacteria present in their mouths can enter the bloodstream as they perform everyday activities, including eating, chewing gum and toothbrushing.

Wash your hands!!!  Handwashing after using the restroom and prior to using your toothbrush can reduce the chance of  fecal-oral contamination.


May 6, 2014

How to choose the best toothbrush for you?

So many toothbrushes out there! And all those cool bristles and colors! Electric? What is best for you? After seeing so many patients, I have an idea of their brushing habits and the kind of toothbrush they use.  Choose a toothbrush that will fit in your mouth. For adults it is usually one inch long and no more that half an inch wide. Toothbrushes that are too big for your mouth will not be able to reach the sides of your back molars. Also be sure to choose bristles that are soft. Stiffer bristles can damage your enamel and irritate your gums. As for electric toothbrushes the same principle applies - make sure it fits in your mouth and the bristles are soft. Electric or manual toothbrushes are both equally good as long as you brush all surfaces of your teeth.


Related Links

American Dental Association
The ADA is the largest professional organization of dental professionals, and a great source of information on dental and oral health topics.

Arizona Dental Association
A constituent of the American Dental Association, the AzDA is a professional organization for dental professionals dedicated to the advancement of oral health in Arizona.

Academy of General Dentistry
The AGDis an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education and reliable consumer information.