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Toothbrushes help us keep our mouths free from plaque and bacteria and ensure that our breath is fresh throughout the day. We all use them – but how much do we really know about our toothbrushes? Are you buying the right kind of toothbrush? How are you storing your toothbrush once you’re done? Does it really make a difference whether you have soft or hard bristles?

You may be surprised to find that there’s a lot about your toothbrush that you don’t know about! See below for a list of five surprising facts about your toothbrush.

1. Toothbrushes have been around for centuries

Our modern version of a toothbrush wasn’t invented until 1938, but people were cleaning their teeth long before that. Civilizations were using various forms of a toothbrush as early as 3000 B.C. in the form of a “chew stick.” By fraying the ends of a thin twig and rubbing them against each tooth, ancient civilizations could scrape off plaque and debris. (Thank goodness for toothbrushes!)

2. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance

Does your toothbrush have the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the packaging? This is how dental professionals mark a dental product as officially approved in terms of function and health benefits. ADA-approved toothbrushes have been proven to have things like reliable bristles, sturdy handles, and the ability to reduce the risk of gum disease and cavities.

3. Toothbrushes have a lifespan

Toothbrushes aren’t designed to last forever. Are you regularly changing out your toothbrush? How often do you purchase a new one? Dental experts recommend getting a new toothbrush every three to four months. (If your bristles are frayed, you may need to replace your toothbrush even sooner.) An old toothbrush will not work as well, leaving room for “bad” bacteria to grow in your mouth.

4. Toothbrushes need open air

Travel cases might be a popular way to bring a toothbrush with you on the go, but they are not meant to be long-term storage solutions. Your toothbrush needs to be in the open air so that it can dry out after use. Storing your toothbrush in a case or a bag will make it easier for bacteria and mold to grow – which will be transferred directly to your mouth when you brush your teeth.

5. Toothbrush bristles matter

What kind of bristles are you buying? Do you tend to get firm, hard bristles, or soft bristles? Choosing the right kind of toothbrush bristles can make a world of difference when it comes to your oral health. Dental experts recommend soft bristles instead of firm. This is because the firmer your bristles are, the more likely you are to cause damage to your gums and your enamel, the protective layer surrounding each tooth. Brush with gentle, circular motions to minimize enamel erosion and keep your gums protected.

Ready to re-evaluate your toothbrush? TruBlu Dentistry can help! Ask your dentist about what kind of toothbrush you should be using during your next appointment. We’d be happy to recommend the right toothbrush for your needs, ensuring that your at-home oral hygiene routine keeps your teeth bright, strong, and healthy.

Be proud of your smile.