Parents, it's up to you to set an example and ensure that your children are brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste accepted by the American Dental Association (ADA). But there is more.....what about proper toothbrush storage and timely replacement?
The ADA recommends replacing toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months or sooner if the bristles get worn. Perhaps add a calendar alert either electronically or on your wall calendar and replace the whole family's brushes at the same time.
The ADA and the Council on Scientific Affairs also has recommendations on toothbrush care and storage.
1) Store the brush in an upright position. This assists with proper dry-time and gets the brush out of standing water.
2) Keep brushes apart. If you do store brushes together, try to keep the bristles from touching to reduce contamination.
3) Don't share toothbrushes. Sharing a toothbrush results in exchange of body fluids and bacteria placing both parties at risk of infection.
4) Rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing. This will remove any remaining toothpaste and debris.
5) Do not store in closed containers. Keeping your toothbrush covered just aids the bacteria to have the perfect environment.
Not on the list, but a bonus recommendation from us at Kids Smiles. In the restroom, close the lid when flushing as bacteria can spray up to ten inches above the lid and too close to your beloved toothbrush.
Dr. Frank Sierra also suggests "If you have room in the bathroom to use two different toothbrushes. You can get two different colors for your child and instruct them to use one before noon and the other in the evening, this way you allow time for the bristles to dry out our before being used again and alternating two toothbrushes increases the overall longevity significantly!"
Be sure to share these toothbrush tips with friends and family, and SMILE.