Posts Tagged toothbrush

Are there bacteria on your toothbrush?

Are there bacteria on your toothbrush?

We use our toothbrushes every day and yet we don’t usually give them a second thought. But should we pay them closer attention? Just how clean are our toothbrushes anyway?

Rather alarmingly, several studies have found that toothbrushes actually harbour quite a lot of bacteria. In this post, we’ll investigate this in more detail.

Studies into toothbrush contamination

In 2012, a study looked at the findings of ten other studies into toothbrush contamination (which is the theory that we contaminate our toothbrushes with bacteria every time we brush our teeth). The findings were conclusive: every one of the ten studies found that toothbrush contamination is actually real. And not all of the bacteria are harmless either. Some of the studies found bacteria such as e-coli, staphylococcus and herpes lying on toothbrushes.

What’s more, the more you use your toothbrush, the more contaminated it gets. So it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush every few months!

What can we do about toothbrush contamination?

While toothbrush contamination might sound alarming, there’s no need to be too concerned. For one thing, most bacteria that you’ll find on your toothbrush are harmless. For another thing, there are bacteria everywhere, not just on your toothbrush. In fact, it would be very unusual if your toothbrush didn’t contain any bacteria. So there’s no need to worry too much.

However, it’s still a good idea to change your toothbrush often. That’s because, over time, your toothbrush bristles become more splayed and worn out, which makes your them less effective at cleaning. So try to change your toothbrush every three to four months for maximum effectiveness. This will also help ensure that you always have a clean toothbrush.

Tips on how to keep your toothbrush clean

If you want to keep your toothbrush clean without having to buy a new one every week, then try leaving your toothbrush to soak in mouthwash for a few hours. Mouthwash contains a bit of alcohol which is lethal to germs. In fact, it’s been proven that mouthwash can kill most of the bacteria on a toothbrush.

Another way to keep your toothbrush clean is to rinse your mouth with mouthwash before brushing. This will reduce the number of bacteria that get transferred to your toothbrush. It’s a win-win all around – your mouth is cleaner and so is your toothbrush.

But don’t bother trying to remove germs from your toothbrush using tap water. One study has found that rinsing your toothbrush in the tap water does practically nothing to remove bacteria.


It’s not just a myth that toothbrushes have high levels of germs; it really is true. What’s more, every time you brush your teeth, it leaves more and more bacteria on the toothbrush.

However, there’s no need to be too alarmed. Most of the germs are harmless and they’re probably already in your mouth anyway.

Still, it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush often though – about once every three months or so should do the trick. You can also try soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash between brushings to keep it clean. This will kill the bacteria and ultimately improve your dental health.

Posted in: General Dentistry

Leave a Comment (0) →

5 ways to take better care of your teeth


Taking good care of your teeth is important to remove plaque and to reduce the long-term risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Yet despite this, many people only use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their teeth, even though there are several other additional ways you can use to ensure your teeth stay healthy.


Dentists recommend that everyone should floss, because it removes plaque and food from between your teeth where your toothbrush simply can’t reach. In fact, you should floss every night before brushing, and you may also need to floss during the day if food gets regularly stuck in your teeth. If you’ve never flossed before, then you should expect some minor gum bleeding when you first start, while your gums get used to the abrasion. Remember to pay special attention to the teeth at the back of your mouth, because these are the teeth hardest to reach, and therefore usually the most neglected.


Mouthwash is not just for keeping your breath fresh – it can also reduce plaque and gum disease. But don’t make the common mistake of rinsing your mouth with water afterwards, because this will reduce the effectiveness of the mouthwash. Also, be careful when giving mouthwash to young children, because if they are not properly shown how to use it, they may accidentally swallow the rinse.

Electric toothbrush

You may think an electric toothbrush is an unnecessary expense, but they are actually better at removing plaque than regular toothbrushes. Try to buy one with oscillating heads (these are heads that rotate in opposite directions) as this is the most effective type of electric toothbrush.

Brushing properly

Even if you’re brushing your teeth the recommended minimum of two times a day, your efforts could still be going to waste if you’re not brushing them properly. For example, you may be neglecting to brush certain areas well enough, leading to plaque build-up in these areas. If you think this may be the case, then you can buy plaque disclosing tablets, which will help reveal any trouble spots. These tablets will dye any plaque left over after brushing and thereby highlight any areas you missed. But also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t brush with too much force, as this can prematurely wear down the enamel protecting your teeth. If your teeth are sensitive in particular areas, then this could be a sign you’re brushing too hard. Instead, use small circular movements rather than large heavy movements. You can even ask your dentist to watch you brushing your teeth, and they can then advise you on your technique.

Get a regular check-up

Finally, you should see a dentist regularly, because problems are much easier to solve if they’re caught early. The NHS recommends that adults go for a check-up at least every two years, though you will probably need to go more frequently if you have existing problems. Children, on the other hand, should see the dentist at least once a year.

Posted in: General Dentistry

Leave a Comment (0) →

Investments in your oral hygiene

oral hygiene

The dental aisle in the supermarket is one that is constantly growing. The choices are extensive and offer little guidance to aid the confused shopper. Toothbrushes come in a range of shapes and sizes, toothpastes make exciting claims and even the simplicity of interdental cleaning has been eradicated with the introduction of numerous alternatives to standard floss.

Summarised here are a few new products receiving praise for their innovation. Shop around and try toothpastes and brushes that work for you, suited to your particular dental needs.


Manual or electric? Large or small head? Standard tufts or a mix of materials? To keep things simple, just remember that the better you are at brushing, the less complex your toothbrush needs to be. If you have the manual dexterity to practice a near-perfect brushing technique then a small-headed manual toothbrush with even bristles is all you need. However, the percentage of the population who practice what is known in the profession as the ‘modified bass technique’ (the gold standard of brushing) is small. Many toothbrushes have been made to combat this problem.

If you know that your technique is a bit all over the place then you are better off selecting a more exciting toothbrush with criss-crossing bristles designed to reach the areas you might be missing. These toothbrushes may improve your plaque control, but the easiest way for a person with a questionable technique to reach maximum cleanliness would be via an electric toothbrush. While still recommended for everyone, electric toothbrushes are particularly successful amongst those who are unsure if they are brushing their teeth correctly: pressure and movement are decided for you and all you need to do is hold the brush in the right place for the right time.

One electric toothbrush, consistently voted in the top 10 of electric toothbrushes since it was brought to market, is the Oral B Triumph 5000. While there are many other very good electric toothbrushes, the Oral B 5000 seems to tick all the boxes. It has 5 modes, one of which is designed for sensitive teeth and gums, a SmartGuide system that tells you how long you have been brushing for and when to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth, a sensor to visually warn you when you are brushing too hard and a variety of toothbrush heads.

The Oral B Triumph 5000 claims to break up plaque through series of oscillating movements, rotation movements and pulsation. The innovative introduction of pulsation to the electric toothbrush helps to break down plaque that is not in contact with the toothbrush itself. Oral B is so confident in their product that they are now offering a full refund within 30 days for anyone who doesn’t like their Triumph 5000 brush.

Interdental cleaning

Most people are aware that brushing alone is not enough to properly clean your mouth, though for many of us flossing remains a fiddly nuisance that gets deprioritised. The best thing to do is find a technique that is less likely to be a chore; there are plenty to choose from.

TePe brushes are a very successful alternative to floss. Those who find floss too fiddly often get on well with TePe brushes. They are small brushes that can be held between your thumb and forefinger and have a small bristle attached that can slide in between the teeth. They come in a variety of sizes.

Floss picks and dental sticks are also both viable options, but more recently an exciting new form of interdental cleaning has come to market: Water Pik seem to have their fingers in a number of pies – not only do they monopolise the oral health market in terms of water-based interdental cleaning, but they also specialise in sinus health and shower heads. Their water-based medicinal products seem to know no bounds.

Not only do the Water Pik water flossers look sophisticated, they have managed to provide a fuss-free method of interdental cleaning. The water flossers work by shooting a pressurised stream of water through the teeth to disrupt and dislodge the plaque biofilm. Because they are so easy to use they are especially beneficial for those with limited manual dexterity. They are also highly recommended for people with considerable periodontal pocketing around their teeth (caused by severe gum disease) that require alternative methods of cleaning.

If you are having difficulty finding the right oral hygiene instruments for you, speak to one of our hygienists or dentists next time you visit: they will be able to suggest the most suitable brushes for you and show you how to use them.

Posted in: General Dentistry

Leave a Comment (0) →