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Is Your Toothbrush All That It Can Be?

young woman holding a toothbrushPerhaps the most well-known fact about dental care is that you should brush and floss your teeth often to keep them clean and healthy. Like all tools, though, proper care and maintenance (as well as proper use) of your toothbrush is vital to how effective it is at performing its job. To successfully maintain your good dental hygiene, you should replace your toothbrush at least once every three months, or as soon as the bristles look frayed. In the meantime, you can keep it effective by learning how to properly use, store, and clean your toothbrush every day.

Clean Your Toothbrush Well

After brushing away the plaque and food particles from your teeth, much of that debris can remain on your toothbrush’s bristles. If allowed to remain, it can create a hospitable environment for bacterial colonies to grow, and the next time you brush your teeth, you might spread those colonies around inside your mouth. After each use, be sure to thoroughly rinse your entire toothbrush, and use your fingers to shake out the bristles under warm water.

Store Your Toothbrush Properly

After rinsing, your toothbrush bristles will be moist, and shouldn’t be stored in an air-tight container. The moist environment can also facilitate bacteria and microbe growth. Preferably, you should store your toothbrush in an open holder, bristles up, as far away from the toilet and bathtub as possible. If you use a toothbrush container, choose one that’s ventilated, or don’t close it all the way so there will be proper airflow to dry the bristles.

Use Your Toothbrush Liberally

Now that you’ve improved your skills at storing and cleaning your toothbrush, the next important thing is to use it correctly. If you can, carefully brush your teeth (every surface of every tooth) about thirty minutes after each meal, or at least twice every day. Choose a brush with soft bristles to reduce the risk of damaging your tooth enamel, and once again, change the brush every three months, or as soon as the bristles are worn and frayed.


To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jessica Johnson, contact Valley Ridge Family Dental today at (515) 327-62230. Located in West Des Moines, we proudly serve patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Urbandale, Clive, and the surrounding communities.


MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm