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Toothbrush tips to keep your mouth healthy

Health & Science
 Rinse your toothbrush before brushing. [iStockphoto]

1. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months: That is what the American Dental Association recommends. However, if your bristles are frayed or you get any respiratory or oral infection, replace it before then. And if you have a weakened immune system, replace your toothbrush more often -- including if you’re recovering from illness or an experience (like surgery, childbirth or breastfeeding) that lowers your immunity.

2. Rinse your toothbrush before brushing: Doing it after brushing might be automatic for most (nobody wants old toothpaste foam on their brush). Rinsing it before will also take off anything extra that got on it while you were away. It also helps soften the bristles a little as toothpaste deposits may have hardened them.

3. Your toothbrush needs to dry: Storing your toothbrush in a plastic bag or closed case isn’t a good idea, especially if it’s going to remain wet until you use it again. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. Store your toothbrush upright in an open container to allow it to air dry before the next use. If you’re travelling or have to keep it enclosed for another reason, consider rinsing it with mouthwash (or 1 tsp peroxide in 1 cup water) before and after you brush. 

4. Choose the right toothbrush: If you’re in the habit of just going for that Sh20 toothbrush at your local kiosk, here’s why you need to stop. If your bristles are too hard or soft; handle too long or short; head too big or small, it will affect your brushing effectiveness. Look for a recognised brand with a seal of acceptance of a dental authority in the country of manufacture.

5. Consider your gums and tongue: Use the tongue cleaner on the back of your toothbrush. If you don’t brush your tongue, you will have bad breath and your taste buds might also be affected. Also, avoid twisting your toothbrush in your mouth as it will hurt your gums. If your gums recede, the roots of your teeth will be exposed, causing sensitivity and bad breath.

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