You should change your toothbrush on a regular basis. Many of us don’t change our toothbrush – I’m guilty as well – until the bristles are worn out.
Studies show that an exposed toothbrush is subjected to multiple airborne and surface microbes. Your toothbrush is at risk for contamination if stored in a shared holder or cup with other brushes, enclosed in a plastic cap that can breed germs, or stored in close proximity to a toilet that can spread E. coli and other harmful bacteria.
Is your toothbrush a lightning rod for germs in your bathroom?
We asked Dental Dorks, a leading Oral Care expert, for advice on one of the most common preventive oral care devices ever invented, your toothbrush!
How often should you change your toothbrush?
“This simple healthy act is the one I am always amazed most people do not do as often as they should. I have seen patients, friends and even family keep using a toothbrush that looks like it was around since the Civil War. For a healthy mouth, a toothbrush should be changed every three monthsor at the first sight of becoming worn out. A worn out brush is a less effective brush. If you are using an electric toothbrush read the manufacturer instructions as some of these brush heads could last up to six months without a change. Lastly, always change your toothbrush after any illness to prevent contamination. ”
What kind of germs collect in a toothbrush if it is left out in the open air?
“If patients could actually see the bacteria and viruses that can accumulate on an exposed toothbrush, it would look like a science horror show certain to give some of them recurring nightmares! Your brush is exposed to a swath of airborne bacteria, especially when left in the warm, moist environment of the bathroom. Most brushes are stored within close proximately to a toilet. Not to be too graphic, but when flushed, E. coli and other very harmful bacteria are spewed into the air within a six foot radius and right onto your toothbrush.
What is the best way to store your toothbrush for everyday use?
“It’s not where you store your brush, it’s how you store your brush. Your toothbrush is at risk for contamination if stored unprotected in a shared holder or cup with other brushes and enclosed in a plastic cap that can breed germs. One of the smartest new oral health prevention items I recommend is theIntelliDent Toothbrush Shield, which is a breathable, quick-drying shield that acts like a surgical mask for your toothbrush. In lab tests, it was proven to be a 99.9% effective barrier against airborne and surface bacteria. It’s so simple and it solves a host of potential problems like keeping your toothbrush from being a “lightning rod” for germs whether in your bathroom, gym bag, or toiletries case when traveling.”
Dr. Gerry Curatola is an internationally renowned aesthetic and integrative dentist, researcher, author, and clinician. Dr. Curatola is Founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, a global, integrative, & wellness-oriented dental practice network with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Rome. He serves as O ral H ealth E xpert to The Doctor Oz Show, ABC, NBC and FOX television networks. Dr. Curatola is Clinical Associate Professor in Cariology and Comprehensive Care at NYU College of Dentistry and he also founded the Curatola Wing For Clinical Research in the Bluestone Center at NYU. He has authored numerous articles on dentistry and wellness, and he serves on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Dentistry, Oral Disorders & Therapies, The International Journal of Dental Science, and GLOW Magazine. His new book, Smile For Life, Rejuvenation Dentistry and the Art of Wellness will be released in Spring, 2014.
One product that can help prevent germs and bacteria from getting into your toothbrush is the IntelliDent Toothbrush Shield.
The IntelliDent Toothbrush Shield:
- Is breathable, quick drying shield acts like a surgical mask for your toothbrush
- Laboratory tested 99.9% effective barrier against airborne and surface bacteria
- Replaces plastic caps and holders that trap and breed bacteria
- Eliminates cross contamination of germs between brushes stored in shared cups
- Ideal for travel, home, work and everywhere in between
- Disposable. Effective up to 7 days
- Available at over 12,000 stores including Walgreens and other major pharmacy retailers
- 10 pack retails for $5.99