Top 10 Toothbrush Cleaning Methods

From the time we are able to securely hold a toothbrush in our hand we are taught by our parents how to brush our teeth. If we couldn’t perform the task very well our parents would brush our teeth for us to ensure the healthiness of our teeth and gums. Afterwards, our toothbrush may have been placed alongside those of our siblings or even our parents in an open container where a bacterium collects on its bristles.

One has to marvel at the toothbrush. The first toothbrush that resembles what we use today had its beginnings in China in the late 1400s. It was comprised of stiff hairs from a hog’s neck and attached to a bamboo stick. Now, soft bristles on the “head” of a handle used along with toothpaste to brush off plaque and massage our gums. For the most part, it seems the toothbrush is only used to eliminate leftover food from teeth. However, it is a major deterrent of gingivitis (gum disease), the prevention of cavities and periodontal disease which is a cause of at least one-third of adult tooth loss.

Many dentists believe that soft-bristled toothbrushes are the most effective to use since the firmer bristles can damage tooth enamel and irritate the gums. In fact, the tips of hard bristles are like sharp tips that may cause nicks in the gum, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream. The soft bristles are considered the most safe and comfortable especially with consideration given to how vigorously you brush your teeth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, even after brushing and then rinsing your toothbrush contaminated and potentially pathogenic organisms remain on the bristles. We’ve all had lessons on how to brush our teeth, but very few lessons in toothbrush cleaning. Here are some suggestions on how to clean and take care of your toothbrush:

• If you keep your toothbrush in a toothbrush protector, ensure it is dry before using the toothbrush protector. Failure to do so may lead to the development of mold on the bristles. Use a toothbrush holder that has holes. This will help with ventilation to prevent mold.

• Wash your hands before handling your toothbrush.

• Limit the number of brushes you keep in an open container because they rub together and may spread germs.

• Wash your toothbrush before and after every use by holding it under running water and rubbing your thumb over it forcefully for five to ten seconds.

• Deep clean your toothbrush by occasionally placing it in the top rack (any other location, it may melt) of your dishwasher using your normal dishwasher soap.

• Be mindful to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, this pertains to electric brushes also.

• Always use toothpaste; it helps in keeping your brush clean.

• To disinfect your toothbrush, you can store it in a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution (change daily, because it turns into water in a matter of hours).

• In a small cup place your toothbrush and an alcohol based mouthwash, and stir for about thirty seconds. The alcohol in the mouthwash will kill off most bacteria.

• Consider purchasing a UV (Ultraviolet light) toothbrush cleaner. It is safe and automatically shuts off once the cleaning mode is complete.

Toothbrush cleaning is something we sometimes take for granted. We use it on a daily basis and place it back in its container not giving a thought to the amount of bacteria floating around in our residence and then how much of it actually finds a place on our exposed toothbrush. These tips not only provide helpful information, but will make you more cognizant on the importance of toothbrush cleaning and how your toothbrush can affect your overall heath more than you realize.

Suffering From Dental Phobia?

Do you suffer from anxiety at the thought of having to go to the dentist? A number of adults experience some type of dental phobia or anxiety when anticipating an upcoming office appointment with their provider. Many of them will only seek treatment when they have an emergency, such as a toothache or abscess and many may neglect necessary oral procedures unless they are forced to go.

Most dental clients report being more concerned about invasive procedures, such as oral surgery, rather than the less intensive measures such as dental cleanings and x-rays. This article will discuss the most common reasons people have for their feelings of dental phobia.

• Personal Experience: is the most common reason person developing dental fears. Their dental fear began after a traumatic, difficult or painful experience with the dentist. In addition to the phobia of being in a dentist chair, clients report their phobia also depended on how the dentist treated them. For example, if the dentist was impersonal, uncaring or cold, clients’ state because of the dentist’s demeanor it added to their anxiety. In other situations, some clients failed to develop dental fear if they perceived the dentist to be warm and caring.

• Dental fear may also develop as clients hear about others’ traumatic experiences or negative views of dentists. This not only pertains to having pain while receiving treatment, but also being embarrassed by insensitive remarks made by some providers or the delivery of bad news regarding their dental care or oral hygiene. Clients have also been known to feel anxiety because of the sights, sounds and smell of a dentist office.

• Helplessness and Loss of Control: If a client believes they have no way of influencing a negative event, they will experience helplessness which leads to fear. For example, the belief that the dentist will stop if the client gives a signal will lessen their feelings of fear or not having any control over the situation. Basically, the anxiety is the belief that the client is at the mercy of the dentist because they do not know what to expect, they are not familiar with the procedure and can’t observe what is being done inside their mouth in case they want to get involved to stop it. The client experiences an overwhelming sense of not being in control which causes anxiety.

Dental phobia can have widespread consequences on a person’s life. Not only does their dental health suffer, but dental phobia may lead to anxiety and depression. Due to their embarrassment over their teeth, clients may avoid socializing with friends and family and may avoid working jobs which involve extensive contact with the public.

Combinations of behavioral and pharmacological techniques are used to relax the client during office visits. Behavioral strategies include positive reinforcement, show and tell techniques which explain the procedure and then show the client the instruments that will be used and the sights, sounds and smells associated with their use in their dental treatment. Other strategies include relaxation and distraction techniques such as listening to music or watching movies.

Pharmacological techniques consist of mild sedation to general anesthesia and can be used in conjunction with the behavioral techniques. While the sedatives may help clients feel calmer and sometimes drowsy during their dental procedure, the client is still conscious and able to communicate with the dental staff. There are several ways to deal with dental phobia it just boils down to what you are comfortable with and of course if your dental provider can offer this type of assistance to you.