Accidentally (or not so accidentally) using someone else’s toothbrush doesn’t sound too bad, does it? In fact, habits like these can cause long term oral health problems.
Most of us have built our oral health regime based on what others, most likely our parents, have taught us. We may believe that this is perfectly fine as we haven’t really learned any alternatives. Whilst some of these habits may have sound foundations, some are also likely to be out of date and could even be affecting your teeth and gums.
Here are some things to be mindful of in your dental routine.
Never share a toothbrush
There are no circumstances when it is OK to share your toothbrush. This applies whether it is with your family, friends or complete strangers, although the latter is obviously the most risky. Your toothbrush should be yours alone and sharing another person’s toothbrush is almost certain to mean the transference of potentially very harmful bacteria.
As well as the possibility of tooth decay, periodontal diseases can occur such as gingivitis which can not only be uncomfortable and unpleasant (bad breath anyone?) but can also, ultimately, result in tooth loss if not treated effectively and in time.
It isn’t just oral health problems that can be passed on in this way either. Serious health issues such as hepatitis and HIV can also be passed on by sharing your toothbrush. This is obviously a higher risk if you share with strangers but it is best to eliminate the risk altogether by not sharing your toothbrush with anyone at all.
If you do find yourself in a position where you have forgotten or lost your own toothbrush, use something such as kitchen towel with some toothpaste on, or if all else fails use your finger. This is better than sharing a brush although you should replace your lost/missing brush as soon as you can.
Chewing gum (sugar-free!) can also be useful in keeping your teeth clean on a temporary basis. Do remember though that this should never replace brushing your teeth and you should return to this (with your own brush) as soon as you can.
Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet
Another common bathroom habit which you may be guilty of is positioning your brush too close to the toilet. We don’t need to go into too much detail about this but suffice to say that many germs and bacteria are easily spread through the air. You should always try to keep your toothbrush a suitable distance from the toilet where you can. It is possible to buy toothbrush covers but this does run the risk of helping to increase the bacteria already on the brush by providing a warm environment that enables bacteria to breed easily. You may call this bacteria poo particles if you like.
Our advice is firstly, keep your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as you can. Try to keep it behind closed doors such as in a bathroom cabinet. Finally, when you flush, put the seat down first! This will help to minimise the transfer of bacteria from the toilet to your toothbrush and ultimately, into your mouth.
Just a reminder that older brushes with worn-out bristles are not very effective at removing bacteria and food particles. Make sure that your brush, or brush head if an electric toothbrush, is replaced around every 3 months. This simple change will help you to keep your teeth and gums much cleaner and healthier than persisting with an old, tired brush.
These 3 common bathroom habits can be responsible for a number of oral health issues and should be avoided. However good your oral health habits are though, you should never underestimate the importance of seeing one of our dentists for a regular check-up.
Prevention of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health issues is far preferable to treating them at a later stage. If you live in the Fairfield or Gregory Hills area and haven’t seen a dentist for a while, why not give Smiles Unlimited a call and arrange an appointment to see one of our friendly team?
For any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.