It is important to maintain good oral health by establishing a habit of brushing twice daily and flossing carefully once a day.
Although most people think they know the reasons for proper, daily toothbrushing, few people realize that clean teeth and healthy gums can protect against a variety of general, even life-threatening, health problems. When you don’t brush regularly, harmful bacteria multiply and plaque forms.
Over time, the decay works its way below the enamel to infect tooth dentin. Plaque build-up on tooth surfaces irritates gums, causing them to pull away from the teeth and expose the sensitive tooth roots. Loose gums form pockets where bacteria gathers, causing an infection. This can destroy the bone that holds teeth secure, resulting in tooth loosening or loss. Finally, chronic gum disease can break down the protective barrier between oral bacteria and your blood stream. This allows bacteria to enter your blood stream and increases the risk for a host of health problems like heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, diabetes complications, and pregnancy complications.
You should replace your toothbrush after an illness such as a cold or flu or at least every three months – toothbrushes can become breeding grounds for germs, fungus and bacteria.
You also need to change your toothbrush when the bristles begin to show wear. Toothbrushes wear out and lose their effectiveness.
If you would like to clean your toothbrush and it is not yet time to change it, sterilize it in the silverware rack of your dishwasher.