Dental Devices May Cause Infection
Toothbrushes, Dentures, and Other Dental Devices May Harm Your Health
"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.
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.
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."
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.