1. For most people, a soft-bristled toothbrush is the safest and most comfortable choice. Medium- and hard-bristled brushes could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel.
2. Dentists say your toothbrush should have a small head to allow it to reach all the corners of your mouth. The handle may be bright and colorful, but make sure it is also long and fits easily in your hand, like a fork.
3. Nylon bristles are softer than natural ones, so choose nylon over natural when buying a toothbrush.
4. Dentists recommend that brushing should last at least two minutes. Three is even better. (Most people fall way short of this duration.)
5. Research shows that though a single toothbrush can be loaded with as many as 10 million germs and bacteria, most of these are not dangerous. Thatís because toothpaste has a built-in anti-germ component, and the microbes need moisture to survive. Make sure you let the toothbrush dry after every use, or you might just be putting old bacteria back into your mouth each time you brush. Yikes!
6. To keep your toothbrush clean, you can soak it in alcohol or mouthwash. Another option is to dip it in boiling water for about 10 seconds.
7. Change your toothbrush… after every three months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Research shows that a new toothbrush can remove more plaque than one that’s worn out.
8. If youíve just recovered from a bout of cold or viral fever, replace your toothbrush. †Viruses that cause colds, flu, and fever blisters can survive for many days on toothbrushes.
9. Most toothbrushes are stored in the bathroom. Make sure yours isnít sitting too close to the toilet bowl. Flushing can toss bacteria up in the air, and they could land on that brush…
10. Time for your old toothbrush to be put away? Why not use it to clean hard-to-reach crevices and crannies in your home? I find them very handy for clothing stains, cleaning small trinkets, and scrubbing away the rings around the kitchen sink drain.