What kind of toothbrush should I use?
The most commonly recommended toothbrush is a soft-bristled brush. These typically have smaller heads which are also recommended because they are able to maneuver around the mouth and reach all teeth with ease. Some people really enjoy a powered toothbrush because they feel that it delivers a more thorough clean than a standard toothbrush. If this is what you prefer, go for it! Just be sure to still reach every tooth when brushing and not completely leave it up to the brush and to not brush too hard to avoid any bleeding or discomfort.
Some toothbrushes come with a built-in tongue scraper on the back of the head. Brushing the tongue is just as important as brushing the teeth for overall oral health. These built-in tongue scrapers are specifically made for cleaning the tongue so they can actually provide a more thorough clean than most toothbrushes. So when choosing between a brush with a tongue scraper and without, choose the tongue scraper but be sure to actually use it.
Why are my toothbrush bristles splayed out?
This is the toothbrush way of communicating that it is being overworked. Brushing your teeth does not need to involve deep scrubbing, it is more about taking the time to do a thorough job rather than pushing harder and going faster. If your gums bleed after you brush your teeth, you are definitely brushing too hard and that is causing damage to your teeth, gums, and even your toothbrush. Get a fresh new toothbrush and try your best to dial back the pressure level. Teeth do not need to be scrubbed hard to reach their clean potential. Avoid brushing in just one direction when using your toothbrush, switch it up and also go in circles. The teeth benefit from being brushed at different angles that also include the gums, and brushing too hard in just one direction may have contributed to splayed out bristles.
How often should I change my toothbrush?
The general rule for replacing a toothbrush is to do it every 3-4 months, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). The human body is constantly exposed to germs and bacteria, and the reality is that toothbrushes will definitely accumulate more of those as time goes on from coming in contact with both the mouth and the air. Regular use of toothbrushes should not accumulate enough bacteria to become harmful to the health of a person within the 3-4 months that they are used.
If you have recently come down with a flu or infection of some sort, it is a good idea to change your toothbrush once you are feeling better so that the possibility of coming in contact with the bacteria that caused you to become ill in the first place is reduced.
What if my toothbrush smells bad?
Since the purpose of a toothbrush is to clean your teeth, the reality is that it is going to end up being dirty. If it is doing its job, then it is removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and leaving them clean and sparkly. The same way food can make your breath smell bad, that same food can end up on your toothbrush and cause it to smell bad as well. If the smell is so bad that the toothpaste and water does not wash it away after brushing, that may be a red flag.
If you are using a toothbrush cover to protect it from germs, that may also be causing the toothbrush to stay damp for a longer period of time and create a bad smell. Ditch the toothbrush cover as it is probably causing you more harm than good when it comes to the smell of your brush. If your toothbrush is stinky, throw it out. Start fresh with this knowledge and if your new toothbrush develops a bad smell rather quickly, bring it up to Dr. Acosta.
-Do not share toothbrushes
-Avoid aggressive brushing that can lead to fraying
-Write the date you first use your toothbrush on it with permanent marker to remember how old it is
-Rinse your toothbrush with water after using it
-Store your toothbrush somewhere that will allow it to dry between each use
-Use your toothbrush for about 3 minutes twice a day for the best results