How Long Should I Use a Toothbrush?

toothbrush, Venincasa DentalI understand many of us do not give much thought to the toothbrush. We have one, we use it, and that is about it. In this relatively short post, my attempt will be to provide some information which is helpful and which may stimulate a bit more thought on your use and care of a toothbrush.

The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice daily. For those who know me, personally, very well, they know that I brush much more than that. I brush upon waking, after breakfast, after lunch, when I get home from work, after dinner, and just prior to bedtime; that is six times! I digressed. But for you all, at least twice daily is certainly adequate.

So how long should a toothbrush last? The bristles have been made of nylon for many years. With current technology, each individual bristle is about 1/1000th of an inch in diameter. Each bristle also has ridges and projections which allow it to pull food away from the teeth and gums. However, after three months of usage, the bristles get shorter and smoother, rendering them less effective. There are some very interesting electron microscope images in this video to show the difference between new and three-month old bristles.

The reason why the bristles change like this is because of the toothpaste. Toothpaste’s cleaning property is due to small abrasive particles. These particles have the ability not only to smoothen and shorten toothbrush bristles. These abrasive particles may also injure the gums and teeth, which can lead to recession of the gums and to the creation of notches at the base of the teeth. This is why it is important to brush with a gentle stroke, with soft bristles, and with a circular or up-and-down motion.

However, beyond the smoothening of the bristles, the bristles also loose their elasticity. They lose their ability within a few months or so to bounce back. That is why after a few months the bristles stay curved and splayed, as opposed to being straight as with a new toothbrush. With their loss of elasticity, the bristles lose their ability to bounce back. so a result, they do not clean as well.

So in caring for a toothbrush, it is important to replace it after a few months, and it is important to rinse it well after use and to place it standing vertically so the brushes may be allowed to dry thoroughly. It is also recommended not to share toothbrushes to prevent the spread of germs, which may lead to illness or sickness.

So there you go. We have added some thoughts perhaps to the routine portion of your days.

If you are in need of a general dentist in the north Dallas area, we invite you to call us at (972) 250-2580.

 

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