It may not be a widely known holiday, but National Toothbrush Day on June 26 is a big day for celebrating one of the most important ways to prevent health problems – oral and total body. It’s just another reminder of the role dental care plays in your smile’s appearance, your health, and your life.

In honor of this special day, we’ve created a little quiz for you to test your toothbrush knowledge. Answer true or false to these statements:

  1. You should store your toothbrush in a toothbrush container to protect it from germs.
  2. You should store your toothbrush upright to prevent bacteria buildup.
  3. You don’t have to see the dentist regularly if you’re diligent about brushing your teeth.
  4. You should replace your toothbrush at least once every three or four months, or whenever the bristles start fraying.
  5. You can help keep your toothbrush clean by rinsing it well with water after brushing and by occasionally soaking it in an antibacterial mouthwash or a mixture of baking soda, water, and vinegar for several minutes.
  6. It’s OK to share your toothbrush with a family member as long as you both aren’t sick.
  7. Not brushing your teeth well enough can lead to gum disease.
  8. You should brush once a day for one minute for good oral health.
  9. You should brush your teeth in circular motions, not straight across.
  10. Both manual and electric toothbrushes work well as long as you brush well.
  11. You should buy a large toothbrush to cover as many teeth as possible.
  12. You should use fluoride toothpaste each time you brush.
  13. You should buy hard-bristled toothbrushes to get your teeth as clean as possible.

Now, take a look to see how you did:

  1. False. A toothbrush container is great for traveling. But it may not be the best option for daily use. A closed toothbrush container holds in moisture, which encourages bacteria growth. Opt for an open container, such as a toothbrush holder or cup. Be sure to keep it several feet away from your toilet, too, if possible.
  2. True. After rinsing your toothbrush off, store it with the bristles facing up so that your toothbrush can dry properly. Again, this prevents bacteria buildup.
  3. False. It’s true that brushing (and flossing) regularly and properly can prevent most dental problems. In fact, for many people, it’s the most important preventive measure. For many of us, though, we aren’t as diligent as we should be. And it can be tricky to get all the hard-to-reach places with a toothbrush. That’s where regular cleanings come in. We have the professional instruments and techniques to get that plaque buildup out of your mouth. We are also trained to spot any problems in their earliest stages, before you can even see or feel anything. Some problems are beyond our control, such as hereditary gum disease. So it’s best to see us twice a year for a clean bill of dental health. 
  4. True. This may seem too frequent for some people, but it’s a good general recommendation. Imagine if you had to brush your hair with a brush whose bristles were frayed out to the sides. You’d really just be rubbing your hair! The same applies to brushing your teeth. The more the bristles get frayed, the less effective your toothbrush will be at cleaning your teeth. For a whopping $5 or so a pop, you can help ensure your toothbrushing efforts are paying off and preventing more costly problems. 
  5. True. As you know, storing your toothbrush properly plays a big role in keeping it clean. And replacing it when necessary will help prevent long-term bacteria buildup. Regardless, you can try one of these cleaning techniques to help preserve and care for it. We don’t recommend washing your toothbrush in the dishwasher. That can warp and fray the bristles.
  6. False. Sharing your toothbrush or toothpaste with a family member or anyone else is not a great idea. You don’t want to pass along bacteria. Even if you aren’t sick – or aren’t showing symptoms of any illness – you could still pass along bacteria and viruses to someone else.
  7. True. Gum disease affects about half of Americans at some point in their lives. Crazy, huh? It’s proven that you can reduce your chances of getting this disease by brushing often and correctly. We can often help reverse early stage gum disease if you visit us frequently. In that stage, gum disease often has no noticeable symptoms except to trained dental professionals.
  8. False. You should brush at least two times a day, ideally in the morning and after your last meal/snack of the day. This prevents bacteria buildup, especially since you aren’t swallowing as much during sleep, when saliva helps clear bacteria from your mouth. You should also brush for at least two minutes each time, making sure you cover each quadrant for at least 20 seconds each.
  9. True. Generally speaking, circular motions help ensure you get between teeth and in the grooves of teeth. It’s a similar concept to cleaning your car or surfaces in your house.
  10. True. If you’re a good brusher and brush for the proper amount of time, either option is good. However, if you have a medical condition such as arthritis that makes it more difficult to brush, you may consider an electric toothbrush. Many people like electric too because they tend to brush better and more often. Ask us about your toothbrush when you visit at your next checkup.
  11. False. Your toothbrush should fit comfortably in your mouth. Plus, if it’s too large, you won’t be able to get into the tiny crevices.
  12. True. Fluoride is a proven way to build up your tooth enamel. Toothpaste contains a safe amount of this mineral to keep your teeth strong and prevent decay.
  13. False. This is a common misconception. Medium or hard bristles can cause discomfort. They can also wear down your gums, which can create gum recession over time. That’s an irreversible problem that requires treatment so your tooth roots aren’t exposed. A soft-bristled brush will work just as well to clean your teeth.

We hope you learned something new today! We love sharing knowledge with our patients that can help them maintain beautiful, healthy smiles. You are welcome to ask any questions you want at your appointments with us. No question is too big or small. 

If you haven’t been brushing your teeth as well as you should, there’s no time to start improving your habits like the present. And you will never have to feel ashamed, embarrassed, or guilty if it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist. We do not judge – we are simply proud that you have made the choice to come in to improve your oral health.

Time for a dental checkup in Butte? Be sure to schedule yours soon, especially if you have insurance that typically covers two checkups a year. Call Butte Family Dental today at 406-565-4458, or schedule online at your convenience.

Happy National Toothbrush Day!