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A good oral hygiene regimen includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day. However, if your toothbrush is not in good shape, you may not be doing yourself much good. So, what do you need to know to get the most out of your toothbrush?

First, make sure you have the right tool for the job. The head of your toothbrush should be small enough that you can reach every part of your mouth. Also, a toothbrush is not something to which you should form a long-term attachment. You may have a favorite tool or favorite tennis racquet, but you should not have a favorite toothbrush- it needs to be replaced every three months. If your toothbrush is showing signs of wear, it should be replaced sooner. Children tend to brush a little harder than adults, so their toothbrushes may wear out faster.

Cleaning your toothbrush is a matter of rinsing the bristles until all of the debris has been removed. Boiling your toothbrush or putting in the microwave or dishwasher to sterilize it will damage the bristles.

Store your toothbrush upright, where the air can reach it. If you cover it, or put it in a container, bacteria will thrive on the bristles, and mold can even begin to grow. Members of the same household should store their toothbrushes away from one another to avoid cross contamination from bacteria. If a person comes down with a cold or the flu, their toothbrush should be replaced after they recover, since germs and viruses could linger in the bristles. You might consider purchasing disposable toothbrushes to prevent the spread of any illness.

If you have questions about oral hygiene, if it is time for you and your family to have their regular cleanings and exams, of if you are looking for a family dentist, Dr. Danlu Lee & Wendy Yeung would love to meet you! If you live in the Kirkland, Washington, area, call (425) 828.9721 today to schedule an appointment at Radiant Smiles Family Dentistry.