Ironically, the same toothbrush one uses to maintain good dental hygiene is a receptacle for a host of viruses and bacteria that can either transmit illness to an individual or, in some cases, actually reinfect them. The next time the Concord NC dentist one sees for routine tooth cleanings and exams hands out that new toothbrush, patients can follow some simple steps to reduce the chance that germs are thriving on their brush.
Know the Real Risk of Infection from a Toothbrush
Yes, toothbrushes harbor a variety of germs, from the simple cold virus to E. coli and staphylococci bacteria. However, the human mouth already comes in contact with a large variety of germs on a daily basis; it is only when an individual has a compromised immune system, or the mouth’s normal bacterial balance is upset, that the chance of infection is increased. Under normal circumstances, the chance of getting sick from your toothbrush is low despite the fact that germs are present on it.
Take Preventative Measures to Keep the Growth of Germs to a Minimum
1. Keep the Toothbrush Dry Between Uses
Wet environments encourage bacterial growth, and few germs are tenacious enough to survive more than a few hours without moisture. Thus, the best way an individual can keep germs at bay is to make sure their toothbrush dries thoroughly between uses. This Concord NC dentist recommends having two toothbrushes so that one brush is completely dry each time an individual goes to use it.
2. Store the Toothbrush in an Upright Position
To facilitate dryness, one should always keep a toothbrush stored in the open rather than in an enclosed container. Storing the brush upright between uses ensures that any moisture from the brush quickly drains away.
3. Never Share a Toothbrush with Other People
Most of the germs found on a toothbrush are germs that come from the individual’s own mouth since brushing removes plaque, a form of bacteria, from the teeth and gums. Using a toothbrush other than one’s own may introduce new and foreign bacteria to one’s mouth, potentially upsetting the balance and causing illness.
In order to maintain good dental hygiene, tooth cleanings and exams are not enough. One must also take care to store toothbrush properly so that the growth of potentially dangerous germs is kept to a minimum.