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Your toothbrush is the tool you use to remove plaque from your teeth and keep bacteria from overrunning your mouth. So, it stands to reason that the germs from your mouth will remain on it unless and until you do something to clean it. Most of the time you need only rinse it for a few minutes under warm water, but below are some ideas to help you keep it from becoming a petri dish of bacteria.

-Toothbrush etiquette demands that you change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. This is the average time it takes for the bristles to become frayed and lose their resiliency. Of course, you can get a new toothbrush anytime you want, but if you’re needing a new one too often, you may be brushing too hard.

-Many families have a communal bathroom cup or toothbrush holder where everyone stores their toothbrushes. It’s time to rethink that idea. Even when related, germs and bacteria from another person can cause you to become ill. Keep your toothbrush isolated from others, or far enough away where they won’t make contact.

-While you want to isolate your own toothbrush from others, using a sealed container is the wrong way to go. When a wet toothbrush is sealed in an airtight container, bacteria, mold, and fungus can only grow. Store it upright and air it out.

-As mentioned above, rinsing a toothbrush in warm or hot water for a few minutes after brushing is all that you need to do to keep it clean most of the time, but adding a drop of antibacterial hand soap ensures the germs are killed.

If you’re interested in learning more about oral health, call Dr. Chris Ostendorf and our helpful team at Ostendorf Family Dentistry. Phone: (816) 669-3611. Make an appointment or come by our office in Stewartsville, Missouri.