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Press Telegram, LB via McClatchy Newspapers

Don't cover up brushes between uses.   Allow them to air-dry instead.  Bacteria and other organisms will grow faster on bristles kept in a closed, damp environment.

Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly. After each use, hold brushes under running water until you've cleaned off all remaining toothpaste and visible debris.

Store them correctly.  Place brushes in a un upright position to best air them out. Also keep them at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid contamination with (yuck) airborne particles after a flush.

Don't share brushes.  You'll be swapping germs with the other user, which can make you sick. If you store more than one brush in the same container, keep their heads completely separated.

Replace them often.  Get a new brush at least once every three or four months, and after each time you've been sick, according to the American Dental Association. If bristles look worn or frayed, the brush needs to go. Children may need replacements more often than adults.

Consider disinfecting them.  Some dentists recommend soaking brushes in an antibacterial mouthwash such as Listerine for five minutes a day. You can also buy an ADA-approved sanitizer machine, which uses ultraviolet lamps or steam and dry heat to fry nearly all bacteria viruses. Just note:  Studies to date haven't confirmed a health benefit, and not all dentists believe frequent disinfecting in necessary.

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Cynthia Rowland - Facial Fitness Expert
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