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In order to make sure that your teeth are clean, you need to make certain that your toothbrush is in good working order. Fortunately, this is not difficult to do.

First, make sure that your toothbrush is in good condition. The bristles should be in good shape and not worn, flattened or drooping. If the bristles are damaged or worn out, or if your toothbrush is three months old or older, you should replace it. It should have soft bristles and a head that is small enough to reach every part of your mouth.

Your toothbrush needs to be kept clean in order to keep bacteria from breeding on the bristles. The best way to do this is to rinse the bristles under warm water until they are free of debris and leftover toothpaste. There is no need to sterilize your toothbrush. In fact, if you boil it, microwave it, or run it through the dishwasher, it is more likely that you will damage it, rather than sterilize it. There are ultraviolet lamps on the market which are marketed as being able to sterilize your toothbrush, but there is not enough data to support that claim. If you soak your toothbrush in an antiseptic solution or mouthwash, you should remove it after 15 minutes, and pour the mouthwash down the sink. Toothbrushes are not that expensive, and if you can’t remove the debris or toothpaste, you should probably purchase a new one.

Store your toothbrush upright in an area where the air can thoroughly dry it. If it sits in your medicine cabinet, a drawer, or even a toothbrush container, bacteria or even mold could grow on the bristles, which is not something you want in your mouth! The various toothbrushes in your house should be stored away from one another in order to prevent cross contamination of bacteria from one person’s mouth to another.

If you have questions about your oral hygiene regimen, or if it is just time for your routine cleaning and checkup, our dentist, Dr. Mark B. Martin will be happy to see you! If you live in the Escondido, California, area, you can make an appointment at Mark B. Martin, DDS, MAGD by calling 760-745-5416.