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That toothbrush hanging in your bathroom is an important tool in the fight against tooth decay, plaque and gum disease. Properly brushing at least twice a day, and thirty minutes after meals when possible, is a big part of keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. But choosing the right toothbrush and taking care of it are equally important.

First, a toothbrush needs to be the right size in order to reach all parts of your mouth. Of course that means for small children, you will need to purchase a smaller toothbrush since an adult-sized brush will not fit in their mouths.

You should look for a toothbrush with soft bristles. Hard, or even medium bristles could irritate or damage your gums and teeth. You may have a favorite tool or favorite kitchen gadget that has served you well for years. Toothbrushes can only serve you well for about three months, so don’t get too attached to it. They aren’t very expensive, so retire your toothbrush after 3 months. Depending on how often and how vigorously you brush, you may need to replace your toothbrush more frequently than other people. Keep an eye on the bristles: if they are starting to bend, it is time to replace your toothbrush.

Cleaning your toothbrush is easy, you just need to rinse it thoroughly with warm water and make sure that it is free of debris. If you want to soak it in an antibacterial mouthwash, that is fine, but you should soak it for no longer than 15 minutes. Any longer might cause damage to your toothbrush. Do not try to sterilize your toothbrush in the microwave or dishwasher since that can cause damage to the bristles.

Your toothbrush needs to be stored upright and in a place where the air can dry it out, If it is kept covered or enclosed, bacteria, or even mold may start to grow on it. It should also be stored away from other toothbrushes. Storing toothbrushes alongside one another can lead to cross-contamination.

For more tips on enhancing your oral hygiene regimen, if you have a problem with your teeth, or if it is time for your regular cleaning and exam, our dentist, Dr. Michael Lemme would be happy to see you. If you live in the Oak Harbor, Washington, area and would like to schedule an appointment at Michael Lemme DDS, contact us at 360-675-3334. We look forward to seeing you.