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You see your toothbrush every day, but how much do you know about where it came from, and how best to use it to support your family's dental health? See if you can recognize some of these facts and myths.
A Curious History
(1) 5,000 Years Old
Did you know that toothbrushes have existed in some form for 5,000 years? Early forms were known as a "chew stick", made from a twig. Later, toothbrushes were made using bristles attached to handles made from various materials, like wood, bone and even ivory. The toothbrush in its present form appeared in 1938.
(2) Reinvented in Prison
An inmate by the name of William Addis, who was serving his sentence for rioting, invented the first mass-produced toothbrush by gluing bristles to a bone he kept from his dinner. This innovation proved to be an improvement on the methods used by other inmates to clean their teeth, and when he got out, Addis founded a company that put his invention into mass production, still in business today.
Choosing Your Toothbrush
(3) Find the ADA Seal
The American Dental Association inspects toothbrushes and other dental products to ensure they meet quality and design standards. The ADA Seal on your brush's packaging means it will stand up to everyday use and help to improve your family's dental health.
(4) Go Soft
Soft bristles are best when it comes to your toothbrush, as medium or hard bristles can actually harm your teeth or gums. Soft goes for pressure, too - when brushing, apply just enough pressure to clean the surface of your teeth gently.
… And What Doesn't.
(5) Manual vs Powered - It's a Draw
Powered toothbrushes have their advantages, however, they may not be in everyone's budget. As long as you're able to use your toothbrush for the recommended amount of time (2 min. & 2x Day), either one gets the job done just as well.
Help Your Toothbrush Keep You Healthy
(6) Brush for 2 minutes, 2x per day
A toothbrush can't do its job without your help! Be sure to use it for a full 2 minutes each time you brush, and to brush twice a day. Use it with a fluoride toothpaste (look for the ADA seal here, too!) to do your part in keeping your teeth strong and healthy.
(7) After 3-4 Months, Throw It Out
Get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months, or when the bristles become bent. Your toothbrush has to stay in good shape to keep doing its job.
(8) Don't Cover Your Toothbrush
Air dry your toothbrush after each use by keeping it uncovered and standing upright. This will prevent mold and bacteria from growing. If your family's toothbrushes are all stored together, make sure they are not touching to prevent the spread of germs.
(9) Care - Don't Share
When it comes to your toothbrush, it's better for your health to keep it all to yourself. Sharing a toothbrush with another person, even a family member, can spread germs and bacteria. It could hasten the spread of illnesses like the cold or flu within a family, and even put a family member with a weak immune system in danger.
Did You Know?
(10) Floss and Brush in Any Order
Whether you like to floss or brush first, good news, you're right! The order doesn't matter, as long as you get both done twice a day.
The toothbrush has evolved since its early days - and with good reason. Its modern form has been proven to support your family's dental health. Remember to choose one with the ADA seal, use it with a fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes 2x per day, and never hesitate to ask your dentist for advice if you're unsure.
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