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Your toothbrush doesn’t come with a manual. And why should it? It’s a fairly simple piece of equipment. There are no moving parts, it never needs to be rebooted, and you don’t have to sharpen it or change the oil.

But your toothbrush does need a little TLC to make sure that it does its job well. Here are a few things to keep in mind about caring for your toothbrush.

Know when it is time to retire your toothbrush. If the bristles are worn or flattened, or you have had it three months or more, it is time to throw it out and get a new one. If someone in your house has had a cold or the flu, you should throw out their toothbrush after they have recovered to stop the spread of the bacteria or the virus. You may want to consider keeping some disposable toothbrushes on hand to use when someone falls ill.

Cleaning your toothbrush is much easier than you think. All you need to do is rinse the bristles until they are free of debris. If you microwave your toothbrush, place it in boiling water, or run it through the dishwasher, you risk ruining the bristles. If you want to soak it in an antiseptic, do so for no more than fifteen minutes.

You should store your toothbrush upright where the air can dry it. If you keep it covered, bacteria and even mold can grow on the bristles. Toothbrushes should be kept away from one another to avoid the cross contamination of bacteria from one brush to another.

No matter how well you care for your toothbrush and how carefully you brush, there is no substitute for your regular visit to your dentist for your routine cleaning and exam. Your visit gives the dentist a chance to remove the plaque and tartar your toothbrush may have missed, and to check for any problems with your teeth and mouth.

If it is time for your visit to the dentist, or if you have questions or concerns about your mouth and teeth, we would be happy to see you in the office! To make an appointment with Dr. Diego Flores at America's Family Dental in Spring, Texas, call 281-528-1321 today