When To Trash Your Toothbrush And Other Dental Self-Care Tips

When should I trash my toothbrush? How can I prevent sensitive teeth, gum disease, and a dry mouth? Learn the answers to these questions and more with some dental self-care tips which you can do right at home.

Toothbrush And Dental Health

Brushing your teeth, flossing them, and using a mouthwash daily are important steps in keeping good oral health. But another aspect in maintaining the health of your mouth is the toothbrush you use. This tool cleans your smile, but it can be ineffective if the bristles are old or even harmful if they trap bacteria and viruses after an illness. You should trash your toothbrush if:

  • It is 3 months old
  • The bristles have become flat or frayed
  • You have been ill recently (especially during the cold and flu season)

Sensitive Teeth

Does ice-cream or a cold drink make you shiver, in pain? A small cavity or cracked tooth can cause teeth to become sensitive to temperature. Your dentist should be seen for treatment, but there are ways you can prevent sensitivity in teeth. Prevention.com suggests:

  • Brushing teeth twice a day
  • Flossing daily
  • Using a fluoride mouthwash (avoid those containing alcohol, which can irritate the gums)

Gum Disease

Some of the symptoms of periodontal disease (gum disease) include sensitive teeth and painful gums. The bacteria that cause this disease can deteriorate the gum tissue over time, exposing the tooth roots. Your dentist can treat this condition with deep cleaning, but you can prevent its development by:

  • Brushing teeth twice a day
  • Flossing daily

Flossing is especially important because it cleans 35% of the surface of your teeth. Your gums may bleed a little when you first begin flossing, but that should go away in a week or two.

Dry Mouth

Saliva protects your teeth by re-mineralizing your enamel and neutralizing the acids that harm teeth. So when you develop a dry mouth due to medication, sleep apnea, or another cause, your risk for tooth decay increases. Contact your dentist if you think that you have developed a dry mouth. Prevention.com recommends preventing dry mouth by:

  • Brushing teeth twice a day
  • Flossing daily
  • Cleaning your tongue when brushing (which stimulates saliva flow and freshens breathe)
  • Chewing sugar-free gum or candies containing xylitol (which also helps to stimulate saliva flow)