There’s nothing quite like the clean of a thorough brushing with a great toothbrush! But a few common myths and mistakes might be standing between your family and their healthiest smiles. This month, we break down some easy dos and don’ts for toothbrush care! Keeping your family in excellent health can be expensive, but none of our tips are going to break the bank, and can even go on to save you quite a bit in the long run!
Read on for a few easy steps to protect the brushes that protect your favorite smiles!
We love a long-term relationship as much as anyone, but your toothbrush is a crush and burn situation. Put a maximum of 3-4 months expiration date on toothbrushes, and keep a couple of extra around in case of frayed bristles, or for when someone accidentally drops in into the toilet. We don’t know about your family, but it happens at least twice a year in our home!
It’s also important to replace your toothbrush any time it has been contaminated, whether by wayward bathroom cleaner, dropped on an unclean surface, or used by anyone it doesn’t belong to. You may also choose to replace the brush after an illness or cold sore eruption.
Teeth are a very serious business, but brushing them doesn’t have to be! Pick a day with plenty of time to spare and let your children pick out any toothbrush they love. Shop online for great deals on electric toothbrushes, and work together to find or make a cheerful toothbrush holder. Pick a favorite song and dance while you brush, and when the song ends you’ll know they’ve brushed long enough. Try a few different kinds of floss or floss picks to find the one that clicks with your children. Turning it into a fun habit will make it a harder one to break!
Rinse Clean and Air Dry
It’s very easy for a bit of leftover toothpaste to harden on the bristles, making them stiff and scratchy. This can cause injury to tiny tender gums, and make brushing painful. Be sure that toothbrushes are getting a full cleaning after use, and allow them to air dry before putting them in any confined space.
You may not have expected this one, but a naked toothbrush has its moments! It’s ok to skip toothpaste once in a while, and there are many reasons why. Overuse of toothpaste can actually lead to staining of the teeth. Too much fluoride can become dangerous in the human body, especially in tiny ones! AM dot can be hard getting all of the toothpaste out of your bristles, so even when you brush without toothpaste, there’s a good chance you’ll still notice a taste. This residual product can make your bristles scratchy on the gums, and even break down your bristles faster. When brushing between meals, go ahead and skip it!
Dishwashers and Sanitizing Solutions
A clean brush goes a long way, but all you need is water! Running your toothbrush through a dishwashing cycle is not only unnecessary, it can cause the brush to break down, making it unsafe to use. Sanitizers can be toxic to the human body, and anything that’s not good for you is doubly dangerous for little ones. Soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash over night may seem like a fool proof way to disinfect it, but the alcohol in the rinse can break down the plastics. If you’re truly worried about disinfecting your brush, it may just be time to get a new one. Otherwise, all it takes is a rinse under water. If there is buildup on the toothbrush, use your thumb to gently massage residual toothpaste out of the root of the bristle. That’s really all it takes!
While toothbrush covers make traveling convenient, remove the worry of dropping a toothbrush, and make it easy to keep a toothbrush in your purse or bag, they also allow bacteria the perfect environment to grow! Only put a brush cover on an air dried toothbrush, and always rinse your brush thoroughly after removing the cover.
No matter how close you are with your loved ones, this is one place that sharing is not caring! Gingivitis, gum disease, and the common cold are all highly contagious, so in addition to possibly cleaning your teeth with your child’s leftover dinner, you’re getting a mouthful of problems that you otherwise do your best to avoid. Be safe and keep a few extra toothbrushes around so family is never tempted to shar.
Store Upside Down
Toothbrush holders are designed to store your toothbrush bristles up. The reason behind this is to avoid bacteria pooling in the bristles. If you don’t have a toothbrush holder, have your children decorate an old washed jelly jar! Painting, glitter glue, and stickers make it a fun toothbrush holder, and remind them to always store their brushes bristles up!
Toilet Side Storage
Most of us keep our toothbrush in the bathroom, but did you know that each flush of the commode sends toilet water up to ten feet into your bathroom? Yikes!
Some families have a strict “close the seat before you flush” rule, while others are still trying to convince each other to put the lid down at all. Instead, it may be easiest to store toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet, under the sink, or in a closet. You wouldn’t brush your teeth with toilet water… on purpose! You don’t need to do it by accident, either!
Overdo the Toothpaste
Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and toothpaste is no exception! Not only is it wasteful and messy, but it can also build up on teeth and in tiny systems. While fluoride works wonders to keep teeth healthy, too much can be toxic. Keep your little ones safe by always monitoring toothpaste use, and using only the recommended amount of toothpaste before thoroughly washing the bristles clean of any remaining product before storing.