What Do You Know About Your Toothbrush?

By Shailja Ensor

June 26 is National Toothbrush Day

Break out your favorite festive flavor of toothpaste! In honor of our favorite under-celebrated holiday, we’ve rounded up a few fun facts about the little brush with the big impact on your oral health.

  • Early forms of the toothbrush have been in existence since 3000 BC. Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” which was a thin twig with a frayed end.
  • The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type used today, was invented around 1498 in China. The bristles were actually the stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog’s neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo.
  • The first mass-produced toothbrush was made in 1780 by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England.
  • Mass production of toothbrushes in America began around 1885.
  • Nylon bristles were introduced in 1938.
  • Electric toothbrushes were first introduced in America in1960.

 Which toothbrush is best?

  • Soft-bristled toothbrushes are best. Hard bristles can be painful when brushing and may lead to erosion of tooth enamel at the gum line.
  • Rounded bristles are better than blunt-cut bristles, which may damage delicate gum tissue.
  • Manual toothbrushes are just as effective as electric toothbrushes. The difference? Most people don’t spend enough time brushing with a manual toothbrush to properly do the job.

How often should you replace your toothbrush?

No matter what type of toothbrush you use, its bristles can become frayed and worn, making it less effective. Clinical research shows that a new toothbrush can remove more plaque than one that’s worn out. This helps to ensure that your brush is working its hardest to keep your teeth clean and healthy.

  • The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush approximately every three months or sooner if the bristles look frayed.

How should you care for your toothbrush?

Your toothbrush, along with proper brushing techniques, plays an important role in daily personal oral hygiene and the effective removal of plaque. Caring for and maintaining your toothbrush are important components in overall dental hygiene. The ADA and the Council on Scientific Affairs provide the following recommendations:

  • Do not share toothbrushes! Sharing a toothbrush can result in an exchange of body fluids and/or microorganisms between the users, placing the individuals involved at an increased risk for infections. This practice could be a particular concern for persons with compromised immune systems or existing infectious diseases.
  • Thoroughly rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and food particles
  • Store the brush in an upright position and allow the toothbrush to air-dry until used again.
  • If more than one brush is stored in the same holder or area, keep the brushes separated to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment, such as a closed container, is more likely to cause the growth of potential harmful microorganisms.

There’s an App for that!

  • The ADA recommends that people brush for at least two minutes twice a day. However, most people only brush for 46 seconds per session! To make sure you’re getting the full two minutes, install an app on your mobile device. There are apps designed for kids and adults that incorporate the use of a toothbrush timer. Apps are available for both iOS (Apple) and Android devices, search for “toothbrush timer”.

For questions about proper brushing or selecting the right toothbrush contact us at EJL Dental.