Even if you have good home care habits when it comes to your oral health, you may not have given much thought to the “tool” you use. And, quite frankly, that’s a big deal! Your toothbrush itself should be given as much attention as the technique in which you use it. At C R Dental Group located in Dallas, Texas, Dr. James Reisman and Dr. Jordana Contrucci want to remind you of some important considerations when it comes to your toothbrush.

What type to use – When used with toothpaste and proper technique, soft bristles are best for your enamel. No need for firm bristles and/or aggressive ‘scrubbing’ to safely clean plaque and bacteria from teeth. Most dentists recommend sonic toothbrushes that really do all the work for you.

How to store it – Contrary to popular belief, it is not a good idea to store in a bathroom cabinet, as that can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, keep it in an open space that allows it dry out between uses. If you use a toothbrush holder, make sure it doesn’t touch another brush to avoid cross contamination.

When to replace – The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush, or toothbrush head, at least every four months. However, it should be replaced sooner if you have been sick, have had dental treatment for decay or gum disease or if the bristles are frayed, as they can cause gum damage.

Generally, giving your toothbrush a good rinsing after brushing is all that is necessary to keep it clean if you are replacing it regularly. You can soak in mouthwash for 15 minutes if you feel it needs extra sanitizing, but isn’t normally necessary. Never share your toothbrush, even with a spouse or family member, as bacteria can be transferred mouth to mouth. You are encouraged to see your dentist and hygienist at least twice a year, and always discuss any changes in your oral health or any concerns you may have.