Keep Your Toothbrush in Fighting Shape
Everything You Need to Know About Your Toothbrush
You hear it time and time again: Brush your teeth at least twice a day. It becomes so routine that you brush your teeth while juggling a few other tasks at the same time. How much time goes by before you notice the shape your toothbrush is in? Have you ever thought to yourself, “I don’t need to clean my toothbrush, my toothbrush cleans me!” The condition of your toothbrush is often the last thing you think about in your busy life, but it plays a significant factor in your oral health.
Symptoms of an Unclean, Older Toothbrush
The most common issue with an older toothbrush is effectiveness. When the bristles are frayed, its cleaning ability is compromised — leaving your teeth more exposed to bacteria.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should monitor and replace your toothbrush more often if you or a family member have:
- A systemic disease that may be transmissible by blood or saliva
- A compromised immune system or low resistance to infection due to disease, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, etc.
How to Disinfect Your Toothbrush
- Rinse and air dry. The simplest way to keep your toothbrush clean: After every use, rinse it and keep it upright in an open area.
- Soak it in hydrogen peroxide.
- Boil it in hot water. This is another simple option, but be sure the toothbrush is completely cooled before handling/using. No one wants scalded gums.
- Use an ultra-violet light toothbrush sanitizer. These sanitizers made for toothbrushes (more specifically, electric toothbrush heads) are a good option, but studies show that while they do kill bacteria, they don’t have a distinct advantage over any other method.
The ADA warns to be wary of any product that says it will do more than sanitize or reduce bacterial contamination. If you are interested in a toothbrush sanitation product, make sure it is Food and Drug Administration approved. There isn’t an obvious answer as to which method is preferred or best, so do what works for you.
Not Recommended Toothbrush Care
- Microwave: While this idea makes sense on paper, the ADA doesn’t approve. It will most likely kill bacteria on your toothbrush, but zapping it can have adverse effects on the brush itself.
- Dishwasher: While this is an effective way to clean your toothbrush, the ADA states that this method will also compromise the quality of your brush.
How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?
For typical usage with no special circumstances, you should change your toothbrush every three to four months. If you see that your toothbrush bristles are frayed or beginning to fray, replace it. If your toothbrush seems to fray too fast, you are mostly likely brushing too hard — go easy on those teeth!
Do I Need to Change My Toothbrush After I’ve Been Sick?
Research shows that this is unnecessary. While those germs are still on your toothbrush, your body has the antibodies to fight off anything related to that particular sickness you just got over. With this in mind, don’t share said toothbrush (or any toothbrush, for that matter) with another person, because they can get sick from those germs.
To keep your teeth strong and your mouth healthy, the quality of your toothbrush absolutely matters. It is important to keep your brush as clean as possible while you are using it. The most beneficial thing you can do is keep track of how long you have been using your toothbrush and replace it routinely. For more information, contact your Lancaster, CA dentist Douglas B. Weber, DDS today.
Nothing Is Sweeter Than a Healthy Smile
Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can leave many parents feeling conflicted. Anything that gives you an excuse to spoil your kiddos with gifts and tell them how much you love them is a welcome retreat from the daily grind of handing out chores and pushing through homework. One daily parenting task that commonly elicits dread is convincing your children to brush their teeth. Every parent knows how important their children’s oral health is, and instilling solid early oral hygiene practices so that your kids can enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles is even more important. Thus the downside of Valentine’s Day: all the sugary treats.
Valentine’s Day is almost as notorious a threat to your kids’ teeth as Halloween. They inevitably come home from their classroom celebrations with paper bags full of chocolate and handfuls of candies with messages of love written on them. While these lovely confections please your kids, they are anxiety inducing when you catch yourself considering the damage being done to your children’s tiny pearly whites.
That’s not to mention the difficulty you face when trying to figure out gifts to give them and Valentines they can give to their friends and classmates that won’t cause cavities. While you can’t control what they will be bringing home, you can skip on contributing to acts of love that promote decay. Below we have put together four DIY, tooth-healthy Valentine’s Day gift ideas that show love while also producing happy, healthy smiles.
“You Make Me Smile” Toothbrush Valentine (Adapted from Time 2 Save Time 2 Give): This Valentine is simple to make and sends a sweet message while promoting good oral hygiene habits. You will need child-friendly toothbrushes, ribbon, colored paper, and a marker. Simply cut small hearts out of the paper and write a Valentine’s Day message like “You Make Me Smile” on each one. Attach ribbon to the back of the heart with tape and tie it to a toothbrush (still in package). You children’s classmates won’t be the only ones grinning! You can bet their parents will be feeling the love too.
Paper Airplane Valentine Free Printable (From NoBiggie.net): NoBiggie.net offers a free customizable, printable airplane Valentine that is perfect for the future pilots in your family. It’s quick and easy to make with corresponding numbers to help guide your way, and there’s even a video tutorial to walk you through creating the airplanes, making this a great last-minute go-to if you’ve been procrastinating.
I’m Nuts About You Treat Bag Printable (From Design Dining Diapers): If your children just have to hand out yummy treats, bags of peanuts are perfect. This tooth-friendly treat is low in sugar and high in protein, and if you go to the Design Dining Diapers site and follow the instructions, you can download a printable tag that says “I’m Nuts About You” and use it to fasten shut your baggie full of peanuts, leaving your children with a fun, yummy Valentine to hand out to friends.
Lunchtime Love: Show your children how much you love them with a little lunchtime love. You can give your children yummy hearts that aren’t made out of chocolate. Most kitchen-supply stores carry stainless-steel sandwich cutters in a variety of shapes and sizes. Use heart-shaped cutters to turn a turkey sandwich in a friendly reminder that you care. Smaller cutters can be used for meat and cheese slices or to turn slices of melon into a juicy, red dessert.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to lead to decay; there are plenty of candy-less ways to celebrate love. If your children come home with bags full of sugary goodies, make sure they brush their teeth after every treat — and then call us to book an appointment for a cleaning.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of the staff at Douglas B. Weber, DDS!
The holiday season is often touted as “the best time of the year!” While this is true for many, for some it can be the most difficult. For individuals and families coping with homelessness, in crisis, or dealing with a time of personal hardship, this time of year can be intensely challenging to face and even harder get through. When basic needs aren’t being met, the gift-giving season can take a toll. So during this season of abundance, consider giving someone less fortunate their smile back.
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouth rinse are everyday items that are often taken for granted. But these items enable people to enjoy one of the greatest gifts of all: a healthy smile. During difficult times, the smallest acts of kindness can mean the world for those in need. This season consider donating these basic tools for maintaining oral health and hygiene to a charity that supports those in need. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider some of the options listed below.
Donations for the Homeless
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in January 2014 there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness. This number includes families with children and individuals. National charities, like Catholic Charities, support the homeless, have a home base in most cities, and often take donations throughout the year and over the holidays. Most local homeless shelters also take donations and are in desperate need of oral hygiene products as well. Neighborhood churches put an extra effort toward making sure that everyone stays warm and cozy, and that everyone feels the spirit of community during the winter months. They are a great point of contact for your donation.
Domestic Violence Shelters
Somewhere between 2 million and 4 million women are victims of domestic violence each year. Many of them have children, and they may have little time to gather personal items before fleeing their abusers. They come to shelters without their clothing or personal supplies. Shelters are always looking for hygiene supplies and personal care products, especially around the holidays. Dental hygiene care pages that include child-friendly toothpastes, rinses, and brushes are appreciated and put to good use.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children. The houses run year-round and offer a place for parents and family members to stay so that they can be close to their children while getting a break from the hospital atmosphere. They have many of the same comforts as home, including hot showers, laundry facilities, snacks, Internet access, and television. The Ronald McDonald House wish list includes individually packaged toothbrushes and toothpaste — a simple way to encourage a smile.
Budgets run tight during this season of giving. Oftentimes the idea of charitable giving can feel out of reach for many of us. It’s important to remember that something as small as a toothbrush can make all the difference in the world for those facing hardship. Every thoughtful act that comes from the heart ends in a smile.
Contact your Lancaster dentist Dr. Douglas Weber at (661) 952-7865 to find out more about how you can give members of our community the gift of a smile this holiday season!