How Often You Should Change Your Toothbrush and Other Dental Tips to Use During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide-ranging impacts on all of our everyday lives, including our ability to schedule regular dental appointments. With many non-urgent dental appointments being postponed, it’s important to keep up good dental hygiene practices if you’re missing out on regular cleanings.
Brushing, Flossing, and Changing Your Toothbrush
The best way to invest in your dental health is by practicing good oral hygiene habits. Commit to brushing your teeth, twice a day, for two minutes at a time, and flossing once a day as well. If you find that you’re forgetful, consider setting an alarm on your phone or bringing a travel toothbrush and floss with you if you’re leaving home.
However, your teeth are only as clean as your toothbrush which is why it’s important to change your toothbrush if you’re overdue for a visit to the dentist. If bacteria and fungus accumulating on your toothbrush bristles overtime doesn’t inspire you to head to the grocery store for a replacement, there are a number of other risks involved with not replacing your toothbrush.
Old toothbrushes become ineffective with removing plaque from your teeth. This can cause damage to your gums and eventually leads to gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis leads to an infection, which can cause your teeth to fall out.
You can also get sick from overused toothbrushes. Outside of bacteria and fungus buildup, your toothbrush can grow mold or you can ingest unwanted particles if stored near a toilet.
When purchasing a new toothbrush, look for toothbrushes with soft bristles, as hard bristles can damage your teeth and gums. It’s also important to choose a toothbrush head size that touches one or two teeth at a time and to use a toothpaste containing fluoride approved by the ADA to further fight plaque and gingivitis.
You may consider investing in an electric toothbrush if you’re looking to further improve your oral health by efficiently removing plaque, eliminating teeth staining, and reducing the chance of gingivitis.
When to See a Dentist During COVID-19:
You should seek dental care during this time if you’re experiencing or in need of any of the following:
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Painful swelling in or around your mouth
- Pain in a tooth, teeth or jaw bone
- Gum infection with pain or swelling
- After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
- Broken or knocked out tooth
- Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
- Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your cheek or gums
- Biopsy of abnormal tissue
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