Your toothbrush is an important tool in your oral hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day helps keep your mouth free from bacteria, discourages plaque buildup, and keeps your breath fresh throughout the day. We all know that we need to use a toothbrush – but how much thought do we really put into the kind of toothbrush we buy? Does the type of bristle really make a difference? Where should your toothbrush be stored each day?

There are a lot of surprising facts about toothbrushes that you may not know about, from how toothbrushes began to when you should replace your toothbrush. Learn more about the A–Z of toothbrushes below!

The toothbrush is centuries old

The toothbrush as we know it wasn’t sold on shelves until the late 1930s. But the idea of using a brushing agent to clean teeth has been part of daily life for centuries. The earliest toothbrush was a “chew stick” used by Ancient Egyptians: a thin twig with frayed ends that was rubbed against teeth to clean off plaque and debris. Centuries later, in China, wild boar hair was used to create bristles; in Europe, coarse wild boar hair was substituted for finer, softer horse hair.

The Army played a large role in toothbrushing habits

Brushing teeth on a regular basis wasn’t always a standard practice in the US. In fact, during WWI, tooth decay (and primarily the resulting tooth loss) was in the top 10 reasons that Army recruits were rejected. While fighting overseas in WWII, the Army instilled a strong focus on maintaining good oral hygiene to ensure that soldiers stayed healthy. When the war ended, soldiers brought back their toothbrushing habits and helped instill greater adoption of oral hygiene practices across the country.

The ADA Seal of Acceptance

The American Dental Association (ADA) evaluates dental products to ensure that they are scientifically proven to benefit consumers. This means that a toothbrush with an ADA seal is proven to be safe, effective, and with clear and accurate claims. Toothbrushes that are ADA-approved also have sturdy handles and reliable bristles.

Toothbrushes aren’t meant to last forever

How often do you switch out your toothbrush? If you’re like most dental patients, you probably aren’t replacing it often enough! Most dental experts recommend switching your toothbrush every three to four months. If you have been traveling or if you’ve recently gotten sick, you may need to replace your toothbrush even sooner. It’s a good idea to have a few spare toothbrushes on hand to make it easier to swap out your old toothbrush for a new one.

Toothbrushes need to breathe

Once you’re done brushing your teeth, how are you storing your toothbrush? If you put your toothbrush in a case or a bag underneath the sink, it may be time to reevaluate your storage. Toothbrushes should be in the open air to dry. Bacteria (and even mold) can grow on your toothbrush if it doesn’t dry out properly, so make sure that you are giving your toothbrush room to breathe!

Bristles make a big difference

Toothbrushes can have soft, medium, or hard bristles – but how do you know what kind of bristles are best for you? Soft bristles are typically the best option, both for comfort and for tooth safety. Medium or hard bristles can cause damage to your gums and even wear away at your enamel, hurting your oral health over time.

Not sure if you’re using the right toothbrush for you? Want to learn more about proper toothbrush storage and use? Aurora Dental Group can help! We’ll give you our best tips and recommendations to ensure that your at-home oral hygiene routine sets your teeth up for maximum health.