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​How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

toothbrushIf you’re like most people, your parents and your dentist have repeatedly told you that you need to change your toothbrush every so often. The keyword being “every so often” is somewhat vague and subjective. We’re going to look at exactly what kind of toothbrush you should buy as well as clear up any misconceptions regarding the timeline to change your toothbrush.

Soft, Medium, or Hard?

If you’ve walked down the oral care aisle of your local drugstore lately, you’ve seen the wide variety of toothbrushes on the market. From ones with a conventional head (that’s shaped like a rectangle with rounded corners) to ones with a diamond head, it’s sometimes confusing to know which toothbrush to buy.

Generally speaking, the one with a diamond shaped head can get into hard-to-reach places inside your mouth. Some newer brushes will come with bristles of varying sizes and shapes. Their purpose is to give the brush a more effective clean and by varying the size and shape of the bristles, you can cover more surface area of your teeth. This will enable a more effective clean when you brush your teeth.

Then you have the hardness of the bristles: soft, medium, hard. The majority of dentists recommend you use a soft-bristled brush if you have sensitive teeth and gums. If there is a significant buildup of plaque, you may want to consider a medium brush for a more effective cleaning.

There’s really no good reason for selecting a toothbrush with hard bristles. While some people claim to prefer hard bristles, they can cause more harm than good by removing tooth enamel due to improper brushing. Several scientific studies have been performed on the damage that improper brushing of one’s teeth can cause.

Physical Damage

If your toothbrush has frayed or splayed bristles, it’s long overdue for a change. Damaged bristles can do more harm than good. Considering toothbrushes are relatively inexpensive, you should run out and buy a new one if you notice any physical damage to it.

The same goes for the heads of electric toothbrushes. The instructions of the manufacturer will give you a “change date”. It’s best to follow their recommended suggestions. Don’t try to stretch it out, thinking you’re going to save a buck or two.

Germs and the Toilet

When you flush your toilet, the swirling vortex of water shoots microscopic water droplets as high as 10” into the air. These droplets of water can contain viruses such as E. coli and Staph. They can stay airborne for up to 30 minutes, and some of them can even find their way onto your toothbrush.

If you can help it, move your toothbrush holder to the far side of your bathroom counter (away from the toilet) and your sink. When you wash your hands, microscopic germs can go airborne and land on your toothbrush.

There are relatively inexpensive toothbrush holders on the market that have a top or cap. They will prevent airborne germs from the toilet getting onto your toothbrush.

If you drop your toothbrush on the floor, there is no such thing as a “5 second rule”. Bacteria and viruses that are tracked in by your shoes have their suitcases in hand and when a toothbrush hits the floor, they hop on board for a quick ride into your mouth.

When you flush your toilet, do it with the lid down. It will contain the microscopic spray that occurs with every flush.

Preventative Maintenance

Every so often, take your toothbrush and dip it into a cup of hydrogen peroxide or mouthwash (the ones with anti-bacterial agents). If you accidentally drop your toothbrush on the ground, a 30 second or so rinse in a cup of hydrogen peroxide should sterilize it enough.

Some people go as far as putting their toothbrush in the dishwasher on occasion. If this seems like something you’d like to try, try putting it on the top rack of the dishwasher just to be safe. The “heat” cycle gets extremely hot and is enough to kill the germs.

Try not to store your toothbrush in an air-tight container. This could cause the brush to dry out and ideal conditions for mold to form.

Sick or Not Feeling Well?

If a loved one is sick or not feeling well, make sure that the toothbrush heads are not touching each other when you store them. That’s the quickest way to get whatever bug they have. If you yourself aren’t feeling too good, make sure to change your toothbrush when you start feeling better. The germs you had prior will be all over your toothbrush and could cause a 2nd round of not feeling well to occur.

Summary

Dentists suggest that you change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. If damage occurs or if it falls on the floor, change it immediately. By keeping in mind these simple preventative maintenance tips, you will keep your mouth germ free and your toothbrush in proper working condition.

Dentists also suggest you have a professional teeth cleaning performed at least once a year. All the brushing in the world can’t make up for a proper dental cleaning, as dentists have specialized tools that get in the nooks and crannies a toothbrush can’t.

At Water Tower Dental Care, we specialize in helping our patients look and feel their best. Give us a call at (312) 787-2131 to schedule an appointment to get your teeth cleaned. You’ll walk out of our offices with a squeaky clean look and feel to your mouth.

​Dental Anesthesia – Making You More Comfortable at the Dentist

dental anesthesiaYour mouth contains thousands of nerve endings which makes it sensitive to pain. If you ever have had a toothache, you know how excruciating it can get. This is why dentists like to numb the part of your mouth they’re about to work on. Numbing agents prevent the nerve endings from sending pain signals to the brain. Done properly and you won’t feel a thing while getting a root canal, extraction or other dental work.

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​Dental Bridge vs. Dental Implant

dental bridge vs implantDentistry has come a long way over the past 50 years. A set of removable dentures used to be the only option for replacing missing teeth. They looked fake and you had to take them out of your mouth when eating certain foods. Both dentists and denture recipients were not happy with the end results.

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​Chicago Food Festivals 2017 – Summer’s Not Over

chicago food festivals summer 2017With summer in full swing here in Chicago, the weather is heating up and the crowds are heading outdoors. There’s a lot going on in August, from lazy beach days to outdoor concerts, and food. Lots and lots of food. There’s only 3 more weeks left in August, and the food/street festival season is only getting warmed up. Here are our favorite picks for food/street festivals for the remainder of 2017:

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​Skip The Soda! 7 Safe Beverages For Your Teeth

soda alternativesIt seems that no matter how much information we have about how food and beverages impact our health, we continue to ignore the information and make up our own minds about what we choose to believe based on how it fits into our lifestyles. Take soda, for example. There is a lot of research that points to the fact that drinking soda on a regular basis, or even once in a while, can have a lasting impact on your overall health, not to mention the impact it can have on your teeth and oral health, but people continue to ignore these warnings.

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Am I Too Old to Get Braces?

too old for adult bracesMany adults avoid having their teeth straightened later in life because they fear they are too old to be seen with braces on their teeth. As with many things in life, society has made it acceptable for younger people to get braces, but as people get older, they become self-conscious about having all that metal in their mouths. The irony here is that the adults who could benefit the most from the braces are also probably the most self-conscious about their crooked teeth too. So one has to ask themselves: would I rather be self-conscious about my crooked teeth, or be self-conscious about my braces, which will eventually come off and I’ll have beautiful straight teeth.

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​What To Expect At Your Baby’s First Dentist Appointment

babys first dentist appointmentEnsuring your baby sees a dentist early in life is good practice for setting the stage for good oral health for the rest of your child’s life. Babies are born with all of their primary teeth already in their gums. Babies typically start to teethe between the 6 months of age and one year. While baby teeth erupt at different times for every child, they all catch up to one another by the time they are teenagers and usually have all of their adult teeth by their adolescent years. But before you start thinking about braces and retainers, let’s look at when you should start bringing your baby to the dentist, what you can expect, and how to plan for subsequent follow-up visits with your baby’s dentist.

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​Can Stress Lead to Tooth Loss?

tooth loss stressStress can lead to wide variety of health complications such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and over time, can even lead to severe depression and anxiety.

But can stress actually lead to loss of your teeth?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Yes.

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​Getting Married: How To Prep Your Teeth For The Big Day

wedding teeth whiteningSummer has arrived, and that means it’s time for wedding season! It’s such a magical time of year when couples, young and old, seal their love with a tradition that is as old as time itself. But to get to that moment of starting forever together, the bride and groom have a lot of work to do. There are many details that go in to planning a wedding, and it can be overwhelming when you realize all of the things you need to do in order to prepare for your big day. There’s the venue, the guest list, the food, the photographer, and of course, the cake, but have you given your teeth any thought? You should – your smile is going to be preserved in pictures for the rest of your life. It’s an important detail that often goes overlooked, but here is how you can prep your teeth for your big day so that your smile shines as bright as the sun!

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​5 Tips On How To Keep Your Teeth Healthy In The Chicago Summer

chicago summerSummer is just around the corner! Are you ready to take in all that summer in Chicago has to offer? With all the hustle and bustle of the city, it can be pretty easy to lose your routines, like your oral health. By being conscious about your oral health, you will be more inclined to continue your good habits even though the weather, and the city, are beckoning as the whether begins to warm up. Here are five tips to help you keep your teeth healthy this summer in Chicago!

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