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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Toothbrush

We love our toothbrushes because they are the tools that kick plaque to the curb, help keep cavities at bay (with the help of fluoride toothpaste, of course) and freshen our breath. But what else can we learn about them? Read on for some toothbrush facts.

When selecting your toothbrush, look for the ADA Seal. 

The ADA Seal of Acceptance is the gold standard for toothbrush quality. It’s how you’ll know that an independent body of scientific experts, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has evaluated your toothbrush to make sure bristles won’t fall out with normal use, the handle will stay strong and the toothbrush will help reduce your risk for cavities and gum disease.

The toothbrush is 5,000 years old. 

In different forms, that is. Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” a skinny twig with a frayed finish, to get rid of food from their teeth. Over time, toothbrushes evolved and were made up of bone, wood or ivory handles and stiff bristles of hogs, boars or other animals. The modern nylon-bristled toothbrush we tend to use nowadays was invented in 1938.

The first mass-produced toothbrush was invented in prison. 

In 1770, an Englishman named William Addis was imprisoned for inciting a riot. He saw fellow prisoners using a rag covered in soot or salt to clean their teeth. Addis saved an animal bone from dinner and received bristles from a guard. He bored little holes into the bone, inserted the bristles and sealed them with glue. After his release, he modified his prototype, started a company and manufactured his toothbrush. The company, Wisdom Toothbrushes, still exists in the United Kingdom today.

Manual or powered? Your teeth don’t care.

You only got to brush twice every day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. (If your toothpaste has the ADA Seal, you’ll know it has fluoride.) Both manual and powered toothbrushes will effectively and completely clean your teeth. It all depends on which one you like and are more comfortable with. People who find it tough to use a manual toothbrush may find a powered toothbrush more comfortable. Check with your Dentist regarding which type is best for you.

There is no “correct” order for brushing and flossing.

Brushing before flossing, flossing before brushing—it doesn’t matter to your teeth, as long as you do both. 

Toothbrushes like to be left out in the open.

Cleaning your toothbrush is easy: Rinse it with water to get rid of any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store it upright and allow it to air dry. If you store your family’s toothbrushes all together, make sure they’re separated to prevent cross-contamination. Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers, especially when the brush is wet from being used. A moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of unwanted bacteria than the open air. 

Lifespan = 3-4 Months

Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do as good of a job cleaning your teeth. 

When it comes to choosing a brush, go soft.

Whether you use a manual or powered toothbrush, opt for a soft-bristled brush. Firm or even medium-strength bristles may cause damage to your gums and enamel. Once brushing your teeth, don’t scrub vigorously—only brush hard enough to clean the film off your teeth. Your fluoride toothpaste can do the rest of the work.

Remember 2 minutes, 2 times a day.

4 minutes a day goes a long way for your dental health. Put the time in each day to keep your smile healthy and keep up this twice-a-day habit.

Sharing is caring, but not for toothbrushes.
Sharing a toothbrush can mean you’re also sharing germs and bacteria. This could be a particular concern if you have a cold or flu to spread, or you have a condition that leaves your immune system compromised.

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