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    Dental Devices May Cause Infection

    Toothbrushes, Dentures, and Other Dental Devices May Harm Your Health

    Toothbrushes

    "As a routine, get a new toothbrush every two weeks," he says. "Personally, I throw mine out on the first and 15th of every month." In addition, you should also replace your toothbrush at the beginning of an illness, and again when symptoms subside. The American Dental Association and CDC recommend replacing toothbrushes about every three months, but that advice is based on the expected wear of bristles and not on its bacterial contamination.

    Clear brush heads and bristles are less conducive for organism life and growth than those that are darker. "If your brush allows light to be transmitted through, you're ahead of the game," says Glass.

    He also recommends against electric toothbrushes, which he says "spin" organisms into tissue more forcibly than manual brushes.

    Dentures

    Sanitizing dentures is the key to killing organisms, and he provided his colleagues a tested recipe.

    For those with dentures, he suggests a solution of equal parts of bleach, dishwashing liquid, and water. Soak dentures in that solution for two hours, then soak dentures for another hour in another solution of equal parts of water and vinegar. Finally, soak dentures for the rest of the night in a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 4 ounces of water. Before trying the recipe, however, he advises that you speak to your dentist.

    Mouthguards

    If you or your child plays contact sports, replace athletic mouthguards once a week. "What we're now finding is that organisms that can trigger asthmatic attacks live on these mouthguards," he says.

    Football players may be especially susceptible to infection. "Often, the mouthguard hangs from the helmet, and helmets may sit in a locker, next to moldy shoes or other environments for germs."

    Dental Floss

    Unless the same piece of floss is repeatedly used, the risk of infection is minimal. But with newer floss holders, Glass is concerned that people will not change dental floss after each use. "That may promote the same type of problems we're seeing with toothbrushes," he says.

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    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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