Why Do I Have Naturally Stained Yellow Teeth?

2022-06-14T16:49:52+00:00June 14th, 2022|Dental Trends, Teeth Whitening|

Tips to Avoid Yellow Teeth

Despite the guarantee of many whitening products—the strips, the trays, the paint-on whitening liquid—not all teeth, or stains on the teeth, respond to these products.

So now for the million-dollar question: if these whitening products aren’t working, am I destined to have yellow, stained teeth for the rest of my life?

Luckily, the answer to this question is NO. There are a number of possible reasons your teeth are not responding to whitening agents and narrowing down the possibilities as to why is the first step in finding the culprit and solution to your naturally stained teeth.

At Adam Brown, DDS we know how frustrating it can be trying to get and maintain white teeth, especially since not all teeth are created the same; some respond well to whitening agents, while others don’t need whitening agents at all in order to show that pearly glow. For those of us with naturally stained or discolored teeth, the prospect of getting them to a whiter shade seems futile, but it’s important not to give up hope. The truth is, regardless of the level of staining, you can have white teeth.

When it comes down to it, there are only three options, and they should be followed in this order:
Make sure you are cleaning your teeth properly. Brushing and flossing daily is not only important for your oral health, but it will also remove stains that are not natural or permanent. There is really no way of knowing if your teeth are naturally stained if this step has not been taken. If you are unsure whether you are properly cleaning your teeth or not, see your dentist right away—he will be able to let you know pretty quickly.
Try whitening agents. Once you are confident those teeth are being kept clean, try some whitening agents. It’s a good idea to consult your dentist on this first, as he can point you in the direction of those products that will work best for you—some can irritate sensitive teeth, and others might not be strong enough for what you need.
Consider veneers. Veneers are a coating that goes over your teeth (permanently) and is the fastest way to brighten that smile. For those teeth with stains that simply won’t respond to regular cleaning and whitening, veneers are your only option.

 

Strategies for Keeping Healthy, White Teeth

When trying to find the culprit for naturally stained teeth, focus on your daily cleaning routine. Beyond brushing and flossing, there are a few other things you can do to keep those teeth healthy—and hopefully stain-free.

1. Drink Through Straws Whenever Possible
Any liquid with additives like sugar or caffeine can negatively affect your teeth, but there is an easy way to keep most of the liquid from having too much contact with your teeth: use a straw. By using a straw, you can keep liquid from contacting and leaving some residue on your teeth. You can use a wide straw for thick juices, narrow or regular-sized for normal densities, or even a bendy straw just because they’re fun. (Do stay away from those trendy metal straws though, as they can chip your teeth.)

2. Always Have a Water Chaser
The more time acidic liquids have to rest in-between and on the teeth, the better the chances of stains and erosion, and you know what that means: more trips to the dentist and quite possibly some intensive dental work to be done. So, even if you use a straw, it is a great idea to have a glass of crisp and clean water to drink from between each gulp of non-water you take. A quick swig of water makes those acidic bits difficult to stick around and manages to rinse any residue left behind that would stain the teeth.

3. Get the Right Toothpaste
A lot of people like to rush right to the whitening toothpaste. It makes sense, if it says “whitening” it must work, right? Well, not on all teeth. Sensitive teeth and gums can clash with the harsh chemicals in whitening toothpaste, and this can cause a lot of discomforts. It’s better to use toothpaste that is made for sensitive teeth. This will clean the teeth well without hurting them, and if your teeth are clean and the stains remain, the toothpaste is not your issue. Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth and brush twice a day. If there are removable stains on your teeth, this should help.

4. Avoid Over-Brushing
Never thought you could brush too much, did you? Well, you can. Too much brushing can actually help acid and bacteria erode the enamel off your teeth, turning them to a dingy yellow color. When you brush, use a soft or medium bristle; brush lightly, and use a mechanical toothbrush if possible. These are made to get to those hard-to-reach places and they put the perfect amount of pressure on your teeth and gums.

5. Use Mouthwash Regularly
Just like flossing and brushing, the twice-a-day rule is all you need with mouthwash. If you feel the need to rinse more than that use water, but once in the morning, then again at night, can do wonders to clean the mouth. Mouthwash also helps keep your teeth white and your breath fresh.

6. Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year
This is one of the most important things to do. One visit to the dentist every six months is the perfect way to gauge the health level of your teeth, as well as, document what is and is not working as far as whitening. Your dentist can tell if your teeth are becoming too sensitive or more stained and advise you on what to do. It’s also good because you get a professional cleaning where someone is meticulously searching your mouth for cavities, bits of food, permanent stains, or anything else.

 

Tips for Whitening

One possible reason those stains aren’t disappearing is that you are using the wrong kind of whiteners on your teeth. Each year there seems to be some new teeth-whitening trend, but not all of these methods effectively work to brighten that smile. There is one newer method catching attention that is showing some spectacular results for users. It’s called LED lighting and dentists and patients are beginning to take a closer look at this advanced method of removing coffee, nicotine, and seemingly permanent stains from the teeth. But is using LED lighting—or, blue lighting, as it is often called—for whitening teeth a safe practice? Though the results of this particular whitening method are positive, patients are still citing some enamel loss and increased sensitivity. Luckily, doctors have just recently discovered an even newer method, still using LED lighting, to whiten teeth but without the negative effects.

Here’s how it works: A gel is applied to the teeth then LED lights are used to trigger photocatalysts in the teeth, which then brighten and whiten. The gel is used to speed up the process and make the LED light more effective.

Though the chemicals in the gel used in conjunction with the LED lighting may not be quite as powerful as what’s used in other strips or gels, this process can still be harsh on the teeth—especially sensitive teeth. This has caused a bit of backlash, but this method is still seen as a step in the right direction, as it is not as intense as other take-home whitening products.

 

Before You Whiten

Though it is tempting to buy the most popular take-home whitening products on the market, be careful of what you get. Just because your friend has found a product that works to remove those pesky stains without causing sensitivity and enamel loss, it doesn’t mean the results will be the same for you.

Your first step is to come in and meet with Dr. Brown and his team. They can successfully assess your teeth and gums to forecast which method(s) might be best for you. But, if you absolutely must start the whitening process immediately, follow these tips until you can come to see us:

  1. Keep away from trays and gels. The problem with this method is that it can take weeks for results to show. And, most people who use the tray and gels report having teeth sensitivity afterward.
  2. Use caution with whitening strips as well. Though results can show in about a week, over time, this can cause irritation. Also, if you use the strips too often, your teeth can become sensitive.
  3. When you have the time to wait, use a paint-on. The paint-on method solves the problem of the whitening agent interacting with interior soft tissues, such as the gums and inner cheek. You simply brush the whitening gel on each tooth and let it sit for a short period of time. The only downside to this method is it can take months before results can be seen, and you have to be diligent in getting the gel on each tooth daily.
  4. Whitening devices are your best option. Go ahead and do a little research and find an LED lighting kit to order—you can get them off Amazon.
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How To Help Your Child Face Dental Anxiety

2022-03-09T17:40:31+00:00March 9th, 2022|Children's Health, Dental Anxiety|

Tips for Dental Anxiety

If you remember the anxiety you had in your youth on the way to your dental appointment, you’re not alone. 

A good percentage of kids deal with dental phobia, with studies showing somewhere around a quarter of children will experience that fear at some point.

Still, getting your kids to their dental check-ups is a necessity for maintaining great adolescent health. Thankfully, Adam Brown DDS understands both the importance of check-ups and the need for a comfortable experience for their younger patients. 

 

Tackling Dental Anxiety In Your Child

Addressing any deeply rooted fear your child has can feel like an uphill battle. Whether it’s convincing them that, no, there isn’t a monster under their bed, that the dark hallway won’t be a problem, or that the bug in their room won’t hurt them, you’ll find it hard to convey why there’s no reason for fear. Dental check-ups are not too different.

Here are some creative ways you can tackle that anxiety in preparation for your appointment:

 

Find A Smile That They Already Love

If their grandparent’s smile lights up a room, or maybe a beloved family friend’s grin, your child likely already can identify just how important a beautiful smile is.

Pointing out a role model’s smile is a way to show the importance of dental health in action, a move that can make that dental checkup seem really worth it.

 

Ease Them Into Meeting Their Dentist

Letting them know what they’re about to get into is a key way to ease your child’s concerns. 

You can do this in a few ways: Showing a video of the office space, pictures of the staff, or the more comprehensive option, scheduling an in-person introduction before their appointment. You can contact Adam Brown’s DDS to schedule an early tour prior to your appointment, as a way to ease them into their dental appointment. 

 

Arrive Early

While this may seem like the most simple of the options, it’s an extremely useful one. Getting there early can keep the stress of a rush from showing in your mood, preventing it from rubbing off on your child. That coupled with some time to adjust to the space can prove an effective tool in a stressful situation. 

 

Take An Active Role

As a parent, you can really influence your child’s attitude towards their upcoming dental appointment. Changing the way you talk about dentistry can have a noticeable impact. Avoiding language like pain, needles, blood, or other potentially alarming aspects of dental language can lessen their stress.

In the same vein, altering your language to be something accessible and understandable for your children can help dispel some of the mystery around their appointment. While medical terms may be accurate, the unknowns associated with them can also do more harm than good. 

Role-playing at home can also help mold expectations, a way to make the dental talk fun and involved, for both parent and child. Oftentimes the perception of what the dental appointment will be is the most troubling. Having a quick, pretend run-through is never a bad thing.

 

Reward Them

If your child has some concerns about their dental appointment, completing it can feel like a real achievement. It’s important to find ways to incentivize them to face their fears. A promise to visit their favorite restaurant, park, or another fun spot after the visit is one way to make the appointment seem more promising.

Adam Brown DDS understands the necessity of rewarding good dental habits. Hosting the “Cavity Free Club” as a way to let your kid pick out a fun toy after winning their battle against those pesky early cavities. 

 

Validate but Move On

Validating fears around a necessary medical appointment may seem counterintuitive, but it can help more than just your child’s anxiety.

Your child’s fears are valid and instead of shutting them down, you can take a moment to reassure them. The fear they’re facing is real. Saying something like, “I know a lot of kids are scared of that too,” can make them feel heard.

But after that reassurance, it’s important to move on. Dwelling on comforting against the scary thing can actually make it a bigger cause of concern. Instead, talk about how you’ll work to make them brave and ready to take their dental appointment on.

 

Let Your Dentist Know

Your dentist is the most important partner throughout the whole process. Letting them know about dental anxiety, medical reactions (like fainting or gagging) allows them to provide the most comforting experience possible.

Adam Brown DDS has the necessary knowledge, experience, and professionalism to address dental anxiety and show just how positive an appointment can be.

 

Appointment Times Are Key

Last but not least, the way you schedule your child’s appointment can help tremendously. 

Limiting the time between appointments can help bridge the gap in dental anxiety. Keeping your child out of a dentist’s office for a year or so can do some serious damage to the comfort you’ve built at a dentist’s office.

That time also allows for cavities and other dental problems to crop up, creating a more negative reason for an appointment, which can always create stress. 

 

Why Your Child’s Check-Ups Are Vital

While tackling dental anxiety is one battle, you may be wondering, why are check-ups so important?

Early checkups and a diligent dental routine can not only prevent problems in the immediate future but also create a foundation of healthy hygiene for the rest of their lives.

After all, tooth decay is the most common disease present in children across the United States, with the CDC reporting that more than 40% of children will experience some degree of tooth decay before kindergarten. 

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that every child should visit a dentist by age 1, or as soon as their first tooth shows.

Baby teeth are extremely important, allowing for proper speech development, teeth spacing, and chewing. Having a professional examine their growth can ensure those processes are happening in a healthy and sustainable way.

There are a few other vital benefits too. 

This early head start can make the regular dental appointment more of a part of their life, addressing some of the root causes of dental anxiety. 

It gives ample opportunities to check for systemic health issues. Many diseases can be identified by conditions of the mouth, which can give you some comfort knowing your child is healthy after their checkup.

All of this also creates a smile that your child can have confidence in, a reward that truly extends a lifetime. 

 

Why Adam Brown DDS?

Adam Brown DDS is the perfect dental practice for your children’s dentistry needs. With a practice that looks at patients like family above all else, patients can come to Adam Brown DDS knowing they’ll receive not just a regular appointment but instead comprehensive generational dentistry.

While this blog can convey some of that, the testimonials and before-and-after photos from Adam Brown DDS patients will show the genuine quality you’ll receive. 

And for the potential new customers reading this, they’re offering a New Patient Special for $65, which includes:

– Comprehensive Exam

– Full Dental Assessment

– Oral Cancer Screening

– Perio Evaluation (Gums)

– Evaluation of Jaw & Chewing Muscles

– Recording of Dental History

– X-Ray

– Digital Photos

So if you’re near Monroe and looking for a dentist that can do it all, from conquering dental anxiety, taking care of your child’s needs, or giving you a quality dental experience, Adam Brown DDS is the place for you.

J. Dalton George

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8 Ways to Sustain Your Family’s Dental Hygiene This Summer

2021-05-25T20:00:30+00:00May 25th, 2021|Dental Trends, Oral Health|

Tips to Help Your Families Dental Health

Summer is around the corner, which means it’s time for all the fun things that come with Summer. Maybe your family is planning to go on a big vacation. Maybe you’re getting geared up for long days at the pool. Perhaps you’re looking forward to some sweet, cold treats to tame the rising temperatures.

But amid the summertime excitement, it’s important not to leave your dental health in the dust. The shifts in routine and the seasonal activities don’t remove your family’s need to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Adam Brown DDS is here with some practical tips and information for how your family can keep your teeth and gums healthy through the sun-kissed days of Summer:

 

  1. Stick to Your Dental Routine 

We’ll start with the basics: keeping up with your normal dental care routine. Even if your kids are out of school and staying up later than usual, don’t let them go to bed without brushing their teeth. And to the adults in the room—don’t allow yourselves to get lax either!

For many families, summer is packed with special events and relaxed bedtimes, but everyone should be brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Also, make sure you are flossing once a day; any two teeth that touch should be cleaned regularly. Many children lack the motor skills to floss until they are more than 10-years-old. If necessary, help your child floss, or invest in a water flosser. 

 

  1. Pack Wisely 

The quickest way for your family to fall behind on dental hygiene is to forget the essentials when you travel. As you plan your vacation, be sure to pack travel-sized items like these:

 

Toothbrush

Like the other items on this list, you can find a selection of travel-sized toothbrushes at most major retailers, grocery stores, and pharmacies. These brushes will fold and easily fit into a carry-on bag. Your travel brush may not be quite as comfortable or effective as your full-sized brush, but it will get the job done. 

 

Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste is another essential item that you can’t go without on your trip. If you only took two dental care products when you travel, you would want them to be a toothbrush and toothpaste. 

 

Floss

You can get travel-sized packs of floss, but flossers are even better. Particularly if you have kids, flossers are easier to use on the go, and they’re effective at removing excess food particles and plaque between teeth. If possible, bring a pack of floss in addition to your flosser. 

 

Mouthwash  

While it shouldn’t be used to replace your brushing habit too often, mouthwash can do wonders for killing bacteria and germs in your mouth. You won’t have any trouble fitting travel-sized mouthwashes in your carry-on, and you can use them to freshen your breath when you don’t have a chance to brush. 

 

Toothpicks

Toothpicks are the perfect little gadgets for removing food particles after a meal. Get a travel-sized pack of toothpicks for your trip to use when you don’t have the opportunity to floss. 

 

Wisps

Manufactured by Colgate, Wisp brushes are relatively new. And they’re one of the handiest oral hygiene products you can buy. These pocket-sized, disposable brushes are surprisingly effective at removing food particles and plaque, and each brush comes with a built-in freshening bead that releases toothpaste as you brush. The best part is that you don’t even have to rinse!

 

Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum is great for keeping bad breath at bay, but it also increases saliva production when you chew it. Since saliva is essential for dissolving acids and helping you fight dry mouth, this is a good thing. Stay fresh and avoid cavities by packing sugar-free gum for your vacation. 

 

  1. Consider Sustainable Products 

While travel-sized dental care products are great for taking trips, using eco-conscious products for your everyday routine is a great way to benefit both your oral health and the environment. Here are some of the most popular types of eco-conscious dental care products available today:

 

Toothbrushes

Plastic toothbrushes typically are not compostable, nor are the packages they come in. That’s why bamboo toothbrushes are gaining in popularity. Not only are the bristles and handles easily compostable, but bamboo brushes can be just as effective for cleaning your teeth and gums as conventional brushes. 

 

Toothpaste  

Natural toothpaste has been around for a long time. But it has come a long way over the years in terms of helping you effectively remove plaque and prevent cavities. Unless you have a high decay risk, your family could benefit your oral health and the environment by using natural toothpaste that comes in a compostable tube. 

 

Floss

The packaging of conventional floss can take years to biodegrade. There are many sustainable, low-waste floss products on the market that come in biodegradable packaging and are just as effective at removing food particles and plaque. 

 

Mouthwash

Alcohol-based mouthwashes may leave you with a feeling of freshness in your mouth, but they can also dehydrate your oral cavity, hinder saliva production, and cause irritation. If you want to add a mouth rinse to your dental care routine, opt for one that contains coconut oil and xylitol, which are known for their antibacterial properties and less harsh on the gums than alcohol. 

 

Whitening

Brushing with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda once a week can noticeably brighten your smile, and it has no impact on the environment! Just make sure it’s not part of your daily routine. When used too frequently, hydrogen peroxide can cause chemical burns on your gums while baking soda can damage your enamel. 

 

  1. Don’t Chew Ice 

Few things are more satisfying than an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day. But if you’re an ice-chewer, know the risks that come with it. Chewing ice, especially large cubes, can cause a variety of oral health issues and even lead to a hefty bill from the dentist or orthodontist. Some common consequences of chewing ice include damaged tooth enamel, damaged dental fillings, cracked or chipped teeth, and broken oral appliances. 

While adults should also take precautions, kids are particularly prone to chew ice subconsciously. Make sure your children know the risks involved and try to prevent the habit if possible. If anyone in your family experiences one of the injuries above to your teeth or oral appliances, contact Adam Brown DDS immediately to arrange an emergency dental visit.  

 

  1. Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks 

We get it—Summer is meant to be enjoyed. And sometimes that includes chomping on yummy foods that are not so good for your teeth. Try to moderate your consumption of sugary foods and beverages, as they can significantly hinder your oral health routine. For example, sodas, juices, and ice cream can erode your enamel and cause cavities. Even acidic fruits like blueberries and pineapples can harm your enamel. After eating foods like these, be sure to rinse your mouth, brush, and floss as soon as possible.   

 

  1. Embrace Healthy Summer Foods 

Now that you have an idea of what foods to limit in your summer diet, let’s talk about some foods that can specifically benefit your oral health:

 

Salmon 

Salmon is not only a versatile fish for recipes, but it’s also one of the best foods you can eat for vitamin D. And without vitamin D, your body won’t be able to absorb nutrients like calcium. Salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical in the prevention of periodontal disease and fostering overall health. 

 

Cheese 

For most people, this one doesn’t take a lot of convincing. Obviously, cheese is best eaten in moderation because it’s high in fat content, but it’s a wonderful source of calcium. And calcium is perhaps the single most beneficial nutrient for teeth, as it helps to keep your enamel strong and your jawbones durable. Moreover, cheese contains casein—a protein that provides a protective layer on your teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. 

 

Bananas

Bananas are one of the most beneficial fruits you can eat for your dental health. They have a low acidic content, and they’re high in potassium, which helps to maintain jawbone density and tooth strength. Yes, bananas have sugar in them, but they won’t stick to your teeth like candy and other sugary foods. 

 

Oranges

Vitamin C plays a critical role in helping your gums fight off gingivitis and other oral infections, and oranges offer a beaucoup of vitamin C. Boost your gum health, and you’ll significantly lower your risk of loose teeth. 

 

Apples

If nature had a toothbrush, it would be an apple. Along with containing vital nutrients (e.g., potassium, vitamin C, fiber, etc.), apples massage the gums, increase saliva, and remove plaque. Making apples a part of your daily diet will help you maintain a clean mouth, fresh breath, healthy gums, and strong teeth. 

 

Carrots

Carrots are also a wonder for cleaning your teeth and gums. They contain lots of keratin, which combat plaque and tartar, and they massage your gums. They also have beta carotene, a nutrient that converts to vitamin A, which increases saliva production and enables oral wounds to heal more quickly. 

 

Kale 

This superfood is known for its incredible array of nutrients, and it’s one of the best foods you can eat for your oral and overall health. Kale has high levels of vitamin K, which helps to protect your bones and enamel, boost your immune system, and foster healing. It also helps the body absorb osteocalcin—another nutrient that benefits bones and teeth. 

 

  1. Drink Plenty of Water 

Water is essential for keeping you hydrated in the heat. But it also comes with specific dental benefits. For instance, it helps to keep your mouth clean by washing away leftover food and residue that would otherwise attract bacteria, in turn reducing the risk of cavities. Furthermore, water dilutes the acids produced by oral bacteria. Start your morning off with a glass of water, and always keep a refillable water bottle with you so that you can sip throughout the day. 

 

  1. Prepare for Accidents 

Finally, accidents happen. While you want to take every precaution, such as having your child wear a mouthguard while playing sports, you may not always be able to avoid injury. That’s why it’s essential to prepare a kit of supplies for your child to keep nearby in the event of a dental emergency. Whether they’re playing a contact sport, engaging in an individual physical activity, or hanging out at the pool, make sure they have easy access to a kit with these items:

  • Gauze
  • Saline solution
  • OTC pain medication
  • A small container (for a knocked-out tooth)
  • The number to their dentist 

 

Conclusion

Summertime may be when the living’s easy (especially for kids), but your family’s dental health still matters. Along with maintaining your regular oral hygiene routine, look for new products that can benefit your smile and the planet. Avoid chewing ice, consume sugary foods and beverages in moderation, and incorporate dental-friendly foods in your diet. Lastly, be sure to drink a lot of water, stay prepared for dental emergencies, and book your back-to-school appointments now at Adam Brown DDS!

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The Germs on Your Toothbrush (and How to Brush More Effectively)

2021-04-13T18:01:00+00:00April 13th, 2021|Toothbrush Hygiene|

Hidden Germs on Your Toothbrush

Brushing your teeth is the most essential practice of an oral health routine. Most of us know this because we are taught at a young age to brush twice a day. But besides the act of brushing itself, there are other factors involved in a proper brushing routine. 

For example, what if the toothbrush you’re using could be causing more harm than good? There are millions of bacteria on the average toothbrush, including E. coli, Staph, and many others. In fact, the water in your toilet often contains fewer germs than your toothbrush. And while not all bacteria are bad, some bacteria are flat-out ugly. Knowing how to to take care of your toothbrush and when to replace it are key to long-term oral health. 

Another question to ask yourself is whether you’re using the right kind of toothbrush. If you want to ensure you are reaching all areas of your mouth and removing plaque effectively and safely, then the type of brush you use is something to be carefully considered. Adam Brown, DDS is here to help you evaluate your brushing routine and, if necessary, determine how you can improve it:

 

Bacteria: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly 

First of all, it can help to understand what kind of bacteria are in our mouths. Experts estimate that 500 to 700 different types of bacteria can live in a person’s mouth; typically, an individual will host 250 to 300 at one time. Some of these bacteria are harmful. If left unaddressed, the bad bacteria can lead to ugly conditions like gum disease and leave you vulnerable to contagious illnesses. 

However, your mouth also contains bacteria that are responsible for promoting your oral health. Here are a few examples of how good oral bacteria fights for you:

 

Mitigating Bad Breath

Studies have shown that if we removed all the bacteria from our mouths, then it could have a negative impact on our oral health. Certain oral bacteria kill other, more offensive bacteria in our mouths. For instance, there are bacteria that survive off of food particles and cause a foul odor (hello, bad breath). Then there are good bacteria like Streptococcus salivarius K12, which help to eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath. So, if you have a healthy amount of good bacteria, it can help neutralize your breath. 

 

Aiding in Digestion

Digestion consists of the breakdown of proteins and sugars in the food you consume. This process begins in the mouth, and good oral bacteria can help make it more efficient. In fact, healthy bacteria like probiotics can trigger enzymatic reactions in your saliva that kickstart digestion. 

 

Staving Off Disease 

Saliva production is an integral part of oral health. Harmful germs from food particles and sugar can cause a host of oral health issues, and saliva is what removes those bad bacteria from our mouths. Good bacteria from probiotics can increase or maintain your saliva production, in turn reducing the likelihood of periodontal disease, oral candida, and many other problems. 

 

How to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean 

OK, so we’ve discussed how good bacteria can help you maintain oral health. But there is no shortage of bad bacteria out there, many of which end up on your toothbrush. Depending on the study you read, the average toothbrush contains anywhere from 10 million to 100 million bacteria, including E. coli and staphylococci (Staph). 

Whichever side of the spectrum your toothbrush falls on, it’s safe to say that you want to take the necessary steps toward keeping it clean. Here are a few practical ways that you can do that:

 

Keep it Away from the Toilet

The most convenient spot to store your toothbrush may be on the bathroom sink, which is why so many people keep it there. But this also happens to be one of the worst places to store your toothbrush, especially if your sink is in close proximity to your toilet. 

Each time you flush the toilet, fecal bacteria are released into the air. If your toothbrush is sitting out in the open next to the toilet, well, you get the picture. No one wants fecal bacteria finding a new home in the bristles of their toothbrush. Find a spot that isn’t near the toilet, and if possible, store your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet for better protection. Moreover, close the toilet lid before you flush to minimize the circulation of bacteria.

 

Clean Your Toothbrush Holder

Your toothbrush isn’t the only thing catching bacteria in the bathroom. If your toothbrush holder is near the toilet, it’s likely collecting bacteria as well. In fact, toothbrush holders are among the most germ-infested items in the average household. It’s right up there with the kitchen sink and dish sponges! 

You might be thinking you’re going to toss your toothbrush holder right about now. While that’s an option, you can also just clean your toothbrush holder daily to keep the bacteria to a minimum. 

 

Store It Properly

So, you have moved your toothbrush away from the toilet and made your toothbrush holder a part of your regular cleaning routine. Now, there are a few other things you can do to minimize bacteria when you’re not using your toothbrush:

  • Thoroughly rinse your bristles after each use. 
  • Make sure your toothbrush air dries completely between brushes; storing your toothbrush upright in the holder helps with this. 
  • Avoid toothbrush covers, as they inhibit drying and create a breeding ground for bacteria. 
  • Use only your toothbrush, and don’t let anyone else use yours. 
  • Prevent germ swapping by keeping your toothbrush separate from others. 

 

Clean the Bristles 

You know that you should replace your toothbrush every three months, but what about the time between replacements? If you wash your bedding or bath towels more regularly than that, why wouldn’t you take the same precautions for your toothbrush? Fortunately, there are simple ways to clean your toothbrush each week to keep bacteria at bay: 

Rinse with hot water. Before and after each use, run hot water through the bristles of your toothbrush. This will help eliminate any bacteria that has accumulated between brushes, including new bacteria from your most recent use. 

Soak it in mouthwash. After brushing, fill a small cup with an antibacterial mouthwash. Put your toothbrush into the cup head down, and allow it to soak for at least two minutes. This thoroughly cleans your bristles and leaves your toothbrush smelling fresh; the downside, however, is that it can also cause the bristles to wear down faster. 

Boil the bristles. One of the most effective ways to kill bacteria in your bristles is to boil them. But you must use this method with caution because the plastic handle on your toothbrush can easily melt. Heat a small pot or tea kettle on the stove, and once the water is boiling, turn off the burner. Then, dip the head of your toothbrush in the water for about 30 seconds. This will kill most of the bacteria while preventing the plastic from melting.  

Put it in the dishwasher. Just as it works for cleaning your kitchen utensils, a dishwasher is a wonderful device for cleaning and sanitizing your toothbrush. Put your toothbrush in the utensil container, and run it through a cycle with the rest of your dishes. Depending on how hot your dishwasher gets, you may want to adjust the water temperature to avoid melting. 

Use a UV sanitizer. Many medical experts agree that UV sanitizers are the most effective way to eliminate bacteria on utensils. In fact, laboratories and hospitals across the globe use UV sanitation because it has been shown to kill millions of bacteria in minutes. There are several UV sanitizers on the market designed specifically for toothbrushes. These products tend to be a little expensive, but some people consider them worth the investment. 

 

When to Replace Your Toothbrush  

Virtually every dental organization in the world recommends replacing your toothbrush at least every three months. While some people think this is a marketing scheme aimed at selling more toothbrushes, there are legitimate reasons why three months is the standard:

Bacteria. Each time you brush your teeth, new plaque and bacteria get on the toothbrush. It’s only a matter of time until the buildup overtakes the toothbrush, even if you routinely keep your toothbrush clean between uses. 

Bad bristles. Bacteria buildup isn’t the only way your toothbrush is affected over time. Your bristles also become worn out. When this happens, it inhibits you from being able to properly clean your teeth and gums, including the surfaces of your teeth and hard-to-reach areas. Moreover, worn-out bristles are harder on your gums and can cause inflammation and premature gum recession. 

Contamination. Anytime you get sick with a viral infection (e.g., cold, flu, etc.), you should change your toothbrush afterward. The bacteria and viruses can cling to the bristles. If you neglect to replace your toothbrush once you recover, it can cause you to become reinfected or contaminate other people in your household.  

Keep an eye on the bristles in your toothbrush. The harder you brush, the faster they will wear down. So, if you tend to apply a lot of pressure when you brush, you may need to replace your toothbrush more often than every three months. As soon as you begin to notice worn-out bristles or bristles pointing in the wrong direction, get a fresh brush. 

 

Getting the Best Brush for Your Mouth 

Along with keeping your toothbrush clean and replacing it when necessary, it’s essential that you are using the right kind of toothbrush. Here are a couple of factors to consider:

 

Bristles

There are several different types of toothbrush bristles. They come in soft, medium, and hard. Most dentists recommend soft bristles because; they are effective at removing plaque yet less harsh on the teeth and gums than hard or medium bristles. 

You can also choose between rounded and flat-top bristles, as well as those that are uniform and those that vary in lengths and angles. Rounded bristles are most often recommended for the same reasons as soft bristles. And bristles with variations help some people clean their teeth more thoroughly. At the end of the day, however, it really comes down to using a toothbrush that is comfortable, safe, and effective for you. 

 

Manual or Electric 

Another consideration when choosing a toothbrush is whether you want it to be manual or electric. Both types can be effective at removing plaque and promoting oral health. As with bristles, this comes down to preference. As long as you brush twice a day for two minutes with a manual toothbrush, it will work well. But if you are more likely to maintain your oral health routine by using a battery-powered toothbrush, then an electric brush might be the way to go. 

 

Conclusion 

Brushing your teeth is likely such an ingrained habit that you don’t give it much thought outside of the four minutes per day you spend doing it. But there are many things to consider if you want to ensure you are cleaning your teeth and gums as effectively as possible. 

Always keep your toothbrush clean, and replace it at least every three months. Make sure you’re using the right kind of toothbrush for your routine. And remember to call Adam Brown, DDS to schedule an appointment if you have any dental health concerns!

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