Saturday, February 27, 2016

Is Your Toothbrush Clean Enough for Your Mouth?

We automatically expect that our toothbrush will be hygienic enough to put into our mouth, and few of us are likely to consider that this might not be the case. However recent research carried out at the Texas Health Science Center at Houston has shown the importance of keeping toothbrushes clean. This particular study looked at solid head power toothbrushes compared with hollow head power toothbrushes, and found that solid head power toothbrushes have less bacteria compared to hollow head toothbrushes. The study was conducted over a three weeks period and participants used non-microbial toothpaste. They were allowed to floss, but couldn't use mouthwash.

How Do You Tell What Kind of Toothbrush Head You Have?

So how do you tell whether or not your toothbrush head is a solid or hollow? It's not easy to distinguish between the two by looking at the packaging, and the best way to tell is to look at the actual design of the toothbrush, as a solid head toothbrush will have a significant portion that is completely solid right up to the bristles or brush head. Nowadays many people use electric toothbrushes to clean their teeth as they are often far more convenient and easier to use than manual toothbrushes. A toothbrush that is full of bacteria and other microorganisms can cause disease and infections, so it's worth considering whether your toothbrush head is solid or hollow, and to try to choose a solid design wherever possible. In addition the bristles should be made from nylon and it's best to make sure they are soft so they don't damage your gums.

Maintaining Your Toothbrush

It's important to disinfect your toothbrush, and to let it dry out thoroughly in between uses. Some power toothbrushes even come with their own ultraviolet system for disinfecting the heads, or alternatively you can just soak your toothbrush head in mouthwash for 20 minutes or so. It should go without saying that you must never share your toothbrush with anyone else as this is a great way to share your bacteria in a very personal way.

Whenever you finish brushing your teeth, make sure you rinse the brush thoroughly, removing any pieces of food and excess toothpaste. It's best to let it dry in a vertical position where the air can circulate freely right around the brush. Make sure it doesn't come into contact with anyone else's toothbrush, especially when damp. If possible, store your toothbrush in a different room from a toilet, as research has shown that some of the water vapor in toilets is forced out during flushing, and these particles can remain in the air for several hours afterwards. If you do store your toothbrush in the same room, make sure you flush with the lid down.

Although there is no proven link between bacterial growth on toothbrushes and systemic health conditions, certain microorganisms have been associated with these diseases. Some strains of bacteria have been linked to gum disease and cardiovascular disease, while others have been linked to colorectal cancer.

If you ever want advice on choosing the best type of toothbrush, or even some tips on brushing more thoroughly, please don't hesitate to ask your dentist, or ask your hygienist for advice during your professional teeth cleanings.

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