Clinical Advice and Oral Health Tips

The Dirty on the Toothbrush

It’s one of the most important things we do before we go to work or school and right before we go to bed. Brushing your teeth is a huge part of oral care and long term oral health so if we think about the overall importance of the almighty toothbrush – it’s basically king of the dental castle!

We’ve uncovered some interesting facts about brushing your teeth and even more interesting facts about how to handle our toothbrush. Of course, these things are not meant to scare you but rather keep you informed so you can make healthy habits when it comes to storing, using and knowing when it’s time to chuck your favourite brush. We also have some cool suggestions on your next toothbrush choice and some recommendations from the experts, your DENTIST!

Are you ready?

  1. Would you be willing to share your toothbrush with someone else? Well apparently a study of friendly brushers concluded more than half of us would and those stats include 24% with our significant other, 18% with our offspring, 7% with a friend and 6% with a celebrity. There are no stats however on how many would ask the celeb for their brush back – autographed!
  1. For those kind individuals willing to share – it’s actually not recommended! Tooth decay, spreading cold/flu, and diseases like Heptatitis C can all be spread via saliva or blood, so sharing a toothbrush is something to steer clear of!
  1. Floss or brush first? It doesn’t matter – as long as you are doing both, and doing so thoroughly your Dentist is likely a very happy doctor!
  1. Do you forget to brush your teeth often? 1/10 people admit they forget to brush daily! Let’s hope we don’t catch a sniff of their breath!
  1. Did you know, brushing your teeth can over time save your life? Brushing daily reduces the build of bacteria on your teeth and in your mouth – resulting in decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis and get this, pneumonia! Oral health is actually a vital part in overall body health!
  1. When is a good time to chuck your old brush in favour of something with fresh bristles? Dentists recommend replacing your tooth brush when the bristles start to look worn out which is generally around the 10 – 16 week range.
  1. AND replace your toothbrush after any major flu or cold, especially viral infections like strep throat! Pesky bacteria can remain on your toothbrush, especially if it is not stored properly. Lean on the side of caution and replace!
  1. So how should you clean and store your toothbrush? Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after use, store it upright – 3 meters away from your toilet, not touching any other toothbrushes that are not your own. If you store your toothbrush in the same area as your partner, child or sibling – make sure they are not touching to decrease the chances of cross contamination
  1. Try not to cringe at this one! As previously noted, keeping your toothbrush a fair distance from your toilet is a pretty important step to consider. Research shows that 60% of our toothbrushes likely have fecal particles present – and you can bet, depending on how frequently that bathroom is used, it isn’t just coming from you!
  1. To cap or not to cap your toothbrush, that is the question! Although a great idea in concept especially when travelling, capping your toothbrush traps moisture in and allows for bacterial to live and multiply. It is recommended to rinse and let your toothbrush dry completely before capping it if you are traveling!
  1. Calculated, how long do we spend in a lifetime brushing our teeth? Well, studies show on average a person spends nearly 40 days in total – but the disappointing truth, that number should be tripled! We should be spending 120+ days brushing our teeth if we are doing so at the recommended time to ensure a thorough job.
  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if brushing your teeth counted as exercise! Well, what if you knew that brushing your teeth for 2 minutes each time could burn up to 3,500 calories in a full year? That’s enough to have us convinced.
  1. What’s the most popular toothbrush colour chosen around the world? Blue!
  1. Do you prefer hard or soft bristles? Well, we hate to tell you hard bristle users but soft bristles are safer for your gums AND they are shown to be just as effective in cleaning your teeth as hard bristles. Your dentist would probably agree, it’s best to make the switch!
  1. Should you switch to an electric toothbrush? While we recommend having that conversation directly with your dentist. Research does show manual and electric toothbrushes are both effective if used thoroughly and brushing lasts for the recommended 2 minutes. While an electric toothbrush does a lot of the work for you, it may help those with dexterity issues get a better clean and because it is easier to maneuver, be more effective in removal of plaque. They are also friendly for the environment since you are only replacing a smaller part of the toothbrush.

So hopefully we’ve given you some tips and tricks to implement at home in order to keep your oral health game stronger – and your toothbrush cleaner. While we think it is important to consider your overall health we do want you to think of the health of our planet and waste!

Considering how many toothbrushes we go through (roughly 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide each year) we think it is worth mentioning some eco-friendly options when purchasing your next brush! Sourcing toothbrushes that are green and innovative is not all that difficult thanks to the internet. Look for toothbrushes on the market made from biodegradable and recycled materials, aluminum and wooden toothbrushes with replaceable heads are also great choices or going the electric toothbrush route saves more plastic hitting the landfills. All are better options than what is most frequently used and you will benefit not only with a bright white smile but a happy heart!