1. Too long usage of the same brush
Many of us use a toothbrush as long as we can. You should never use the same toothbrush for more than three months, it should be changed at least four times a year, otherwise the risk of caries and various gum problems grow.
The basic rule according to which you will be able to judge whether the brush is due for a change or not, is by the appearance of the hair. Namely if they are bent, broken and rare it is time to replace it with a new one. A toothbrush in this condition will not clean your teeth properly. Take a close look at your brush regularly and make sure the bristles are flexible and straight. If the bristles look frayed, change your toothbrush immediately.
2. Storing the brush too close to the toilet
We all keep our toothbrushes in the bathroom, but it is very important that they be in closed cabinets. If you’re keeping your toothbrush within six feet of a toilet, that’s too close, according to Dr. Gerry Curatola. The remains of different bacteria may enter the area to the distance from the toilet, so it is not good to keep a toothbrush on the sink if it is close to the toilet shell. Because most people store their brushes in the bathroom, it’s easy for them to become infested with fecal matter and other microbes you wouldn’t want in your mouth.
“People don’t realize there can be more bacteria on a toothbrush than on a toilet seat,” Curatola said.
3. Store the brush in plastic container
One of the worst forms of keeping toothbrushes is in a plastic box, namely a combination of moisture, which keeps such a closed container, is a hotbed for bacteria. The best way of keeping the brush is in a holder or a cup, and it is important that the brush head is covered with a special fabric that acts as a shield.
“Putting a plastic cap toothbrush cover on is a problem because those act like petri dishes and grow viruses and bacteria inside them,” Dr. Gerry Curatola said. “The CDC in Atlanta has advised against plastic cases for toothbrushes and for mouth guards and things like that.”
4. Exposure of the brush to warmth
Though disinfecting toothbrushes in the microwave is a very unusual way, numerous studies have shown that it is one of the most popular, but also the most damaging. Experts warn that the microwaves and heat can cause changes on the plastic resulting in release of hazardous bisphenol A. The best way is to wash the brush in warm water and sink it in antibacterial solution; in this way it is possible to reduce the number of bacteria on your toothbrush.
“They think they are sterilizing it, but they heat the plastic – most toothbrushes are made of plastic, silicone and nylon – and a microwave will denature and damage those things,” Dr. Gerry Curatola said. “…This causes the nylon bristles to break down.”
5. Common cup
Studies have shown that 80 percent of family toothbrushes are kept in a common container which is totally wrong, because in this way the bacteria and viruses are transmitted the fastest.
6. You think toothpaste disinfects your brush
“Normal toothpaste has no impact on bacteria on the brush,” Dr. Gerry Curatola said.
And if you come across a toothpaste that advertises itself as ‘antibacterial’, leave it on the shelf, he said.
“Basically, our mouths have billions of healthy bacteria in (what is called) the oral microbiome. When the oral microbiome is healthy, we’re protected from deadly viruses and bacteria in the environment around us,” Curatola said. “But in a lot of people, (the oral microbiome) is not healthy because they use harmful products like detergent toothpaste or alcohol mouthwashes.”
7. Using the Wrong Toothbrush
Toothbrushes come in different sizes, and most people do not know which size to purchase and often do not give it any thought. To clean your teeth correctly, you need to use a properly sized toothbrush.
If it’s too big, you may have to strain your mouth to keep it open. If it is too small, then proper cleaning will not be possible. When a toothbrush feels good in your hand and mouth and reaches every tooth, then it is the right size.
You can buy a manual or an electronic toothbrush, whichever you prefer. People who have arthritis or pain in their hands, arms or shoulders may find that an electronic toothbrush is a good option.
8. Choosing the Wrong Bristles
Just like there are different sizes of toothbrushes, they are also made with different bristles. They may have straight, round, angled or zigzag bristles. Dentists say that angled bristles are generally the best, as they help clean all the teeth properly irrespective of their position.
Along with the pattern, you need to consider the quality of the bristles. Avoid using a brush with hard and stiff bristles that can erode your dental enamel, irritate your gums and cause recession. Always use a soft-to medium-bristled toothbrush.
9. Not Rinsing Your Toothbrush After Use
In our rush to get out of the house in the morning or off to bed at night, we often don’t take time to rinse our toothbrush properly after using it. Due to this, bacteria and food debris remain on the bristles, which may cause infection and gum disease later on. Plus, it may cause the bristles on the brush to become hard.
To prevent reintroducing bacteria and other germs into your mouth the next time you brush, rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after each use. It is best to hold the toothbrush under running tap water for 1 minute and then allow it to air dry. This will help remove any leftover toothpaste, bacteria and food particles.
10. Storing Your Toothbrush Wet
Perhaps you are already vigilant about rinsing your toothbrush after each use, but do you put it away in the bathroom cabinet when it is still wet?
A damp toothbrush becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, and the next time you use it, you are unknowingly introducing bacteria into your mouth, which can cause bad breath and other gum diseases.
To rectify this mistake, after rinsing your toothbrush, shake off the extra moisture and store it in a brush holder with a cap that allows air in. You can even dry out your toothbrush in the sun for a few minutes. Plus, you can keep two toothbrushes handy, so that one is always dry.