A person’s toothbrush can tell us a lot about their personality. Automatic toothbrush? This person wants their mouth to be very clean without a lot of effort. Wooden toothbrush? They’re probably someone who is very eco-conscious.Cartoon toothbrush? Either you’re a child or in touch with your youthful side. But would you believe us if we told you that your toothbrush can tell you a lot about your brushing habits and your dental health?
On average, people brush their teeth twice a day, morning and night. With the recommended amount of time for brushing your teeth, those 2 minutes 2x a day can really add up! Your toothbrush can tell you if you’ve been brushing too hard, not enough, or even if you need to change how much sugar you eat. Read on to learn all the ways your toothbrush can communicate with you!
Strangely Colored After Brushing
If the bristles of your toothbrush are a strange color after brushing, that may be an indicator that you need to consume less sugar. Sugary candies are also known for containing artificial colors and dyes, which can stain the surfaces of the teeth. Sticky candy residue can also rest on your teeth in places not visible to the naked eye. If you brush your teeth and the bristles come out resembling those Skittles or Fun Dip you ate for a snack, there’s a good chance you need to cut back on sugars and consume more water. Cutting back on candy will help prevent decay in the long run. Additionally, another way to combat these sugary sweets is by increasing your water intake. Increasing how much water you drink during and after meals will help wash away leftover food particles. Your toothbrush will start to run clean and the bristles will return to their original color.
If the bristles on your toothbrush start to resemble an old, frayed rope you’d see on a farm, your toothbrush is telling you that it’s old and needs to be replaced. With regular use, your toothbrush will need to be replaced every few months to be at its most useful. The ADA suggests replacing your toothbrush every 3 months to achieve your best oral hygiene. The bristles of your toothbrush should remain at a stiff and straight direction. Help give yourself a reminder by writing the date that you use the new toothbrush on the handle!
Worn After a Few Weeks
Your toothbrush may be trying to tell you that you brush too hard. Brushing too hard can cause toothbrushes to break down faster than intended. With the frequent pressure and force of the bristles against your teeth, your bristles will start to bend in different directions. Worn down bristles irritate the gums and don’t clean the teeth properly. Additionally, your toothbrush may also be trying to tell you that you are using improper brushing techniques. The motions you use for brushing your teeth should be in slow circles on different quadrants of your teeth for two minutes, and to brush your tongue you should use back and forth motions.
Tinted Red or Pink
If the bristles of your toothbrush are tinted red or pink after brushing, and you have not consumed any pink/red candy, sugary treats, or sugary beverages, there’s a good chance that your gums may be bleeding or that you aren’t giving your gums the attention they need. Bleeding gums are are a sign of gingivitis. If your gums look puffy, swollen, red, and bleed after brushing, you are not taking care of your gums properly and need to work on gum-hygiene. Your gums should be a light pink with no blood or pain after brushing. Gingivitis can happen when you aren’t brushing enough, or if you skip out on flossing your teeth. Flossing helps to release food particles that are lodged between the teeth and invisible to the naked eye. Without removing these particles, bacteria will build up and irritate the gum tissue in the infected area. Increase how often you brush, make sure to brush with proper technique, and make sure you floss every night to help keep your gums pink and healthy!
Damp or Stinky Bristles
If the bristles of your toothbrush are damp from your previous brush, or emit an unpleasant odor, there’s a good chance that you may not be storing your toothbrush properly. You should get rid of this toothbrush and get a replacement as soon as possible. Your toothbrush and its bristles should remain clean and dry. Your toothbrush should be stored in the upright position with the bristle-side facing up. You should not place a toothbrush cap or any plastic over the bristles of the toothbrush, because this moist environment is a breeding ground for bacteria. A toothbrush cap will keep the germs in instead of preventing them, which in turn could make the bristles smell similar to a dirty dishrag or towel from the bacteria. Additionally, you should try and keep two different toothbrushes separated and not touching if they are in the same location. Cross contamination can spread germs, especially among wet toothbrushes.
And if you’ve been sick…
Change your toothbrush altogether! The germs that cause you to fall ill can still remain on your toothbrush after you’ve started to feel better! If you don’t properly dispose of your toothbrush you used while sick, re-infection can occur. Your immune system is just now starting to feel better, which means it is also vulnerable. Help protect your mouth and your body by always replacing your toothbrush after feeling sick!