Your toothbrush helps you take care of your teeth by removing harmful, cavity-causing plaque. But your brush needs proper care, too, to do its job effectively. Maintaining your brush will maximize how much bacteria it can remove — and prevent bacteria from getting back into your mouth. The following tips will help you extend your toothbrush’s lifespan and help it clean your teeth as thoroughly as possible.
Every time you’re done brushing, rinse your toothbrush off with tap water to remove any remaining toothpaste, saliva, and bacteria. Pro tip: Warm water will loosen up the bristles and remove more debris from your brush. Additionally, wipe down the handle because bacteria can build up there as saliva and water run down the brush.
Store it upright
After you’re done rinsing your toothbrush, stand it upright to let it air dry. Putting a cap on it or keeping it in a container lets moisture linger, which helps bacteria thrive and build up on the brush. A toothbrush cover or container is ideal for travel, however, because it protects the brush from dirt and dust inside your luggage. But make sure the bristles are completely dry before putting the protective device on. You can further minimize bacteria exposure by making sure it doesn’t touch any other toothbrushes and keeping it several feet away from the toilet.
Replace the brush or brush head periodically
With normal use, the bristles on your toothbrush will become frayed and bent over time. When this happens, they’re significantly less effective at removing plaque.1 The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every three to four months.2 You may need to stray from that timeline when someone in your house gets sick. Any illness-causing bacteria can build up on a toothbrush, potentially spreading to other toothbrushes nearby. Fortunately, the Beam Brush comes with replacement heads so you don’t have to buy an all-new toothbrush!
Don’t brush too hard
Brushing harder doesn’t equate to a cleaner mouth; in fact, it can damage the enamel3 that protects your teeth from decay. It also wears out the bristles on your toothbrush much more quickly than brushing gently. You only need to use minimal pressure to keep your teeth clean and maintain your brush for its full three-to-four-month shelf life.
Wash your hands
Your hands get exposed to a lot of bacteria when you touch various surfaces throughout the day. The germs can then transfer to your toothbrush and, eventually, your mouth. Take a few extra seconds to wash your hands with antibacterial soap before you brush your teeth.