Sure, you probably know that your oral health gets a big boost when you use your toothbrush twice each day, along with flossing and seeing your family dentist at least twice a year for exams and professional teeth cleanings. But you may not know how to maintain your toothbrush properly or the history of human use of toothbrushes. Here are five interesting facts about this important oral hygiene tool.
- Humans have been using toothbrushes for at least 5,000 years. Do you think that you’re the first parent to struggle to get your kids to brush their teeth? Not even close! Humans have been using toothbrush-type instruments to clean their teeth for millennia. The materials used in those brushes has certainly changed over the years, and the modern toothbrush featuring nylon bristles was introduced in the late 1930s.
- A toothbrush lasts for 3-4 months. If you’re using an old, decrepit toothbrush, you’re not getting the maximum benefit from your oral hygiene routine. Make sure that you’re changing your toothbrush on a regular basis so that it is as effective as possible. A good rule of thumb is to swap out to a new brush every time you see your family dentist and again halfway between appointments.
- Toothbrushes should be left out in the open. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after using it, and leave it upright to air dry. Using a cover when storing your toothbrush can give bacteria a moist environment in which to proliferate.
- Soft-bristled toothbrushes are best. You actually can overdo it when it comes to brushing your teeth if you brush too hard or use bristles that are too rough. Ask your family dentist for recommendations of specific toothbrushes that are the right quality, or check for the American Dental Association Seal.
- 2 x 2 is the sweet spot for your toothbrush. Brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes each time in order to disrupt the formation of plaque and tartar and keep your smile as clean and healthy as possible.
Would you like more information on proper toothbrush use and maintenance? Be sure to check with your hygienist or dentist the next time you are in for a check-up, or feel free to call us and ask questions between appointments.