You might take it for granted, but your soft-bristled toothbrush is your first-line defense against gum disease. Make sure you’re getting all you can out of brushing by following these simple tips:
- Replace your toothbrush every 3–4 months (or sooner if the bristles start to bend or fray).
- Rinse your toothbrush with tap water after brushing and allow it to air dry. This gets rid of bacteria that die when exposed to air.
- Store your toothbrush upright so it can drain and air dry faster.
- Allow your toothbrush to air dry completely before packing it away for a vacation.
- Share toothbrushes. Sharing could spread germs and the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
- Place your toothbrush in a small container for long periods of time. Moisture encourages bacteria to grow.
- Keep your toothbrush near the toilet. Germs become airborne during flushing and could end up on your toothbrush.
Toothbrush care myths
Your toothbrush doesn’t need any special cleaning wizardry. Soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash or sanitizer won’t make it cleaner. Washing your toothbrush in a dishwasher can damage it, reducing functionality. Simply running it under tap water will do the trick.
The TRICARE Dental Program has you covered
The TRICARE Dental Program can help with members’ oral health. Members are covered for two routine dental cleanings in a consecutive 12-month period.
A third cleaning is allowed for pregnant patients as well as members diagnosed with diabetes, coronary artery disease (heart disease), cerebral vascular disease (stroke), rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, oral cancer, or recipients of an organ transplant. To qualify for the expanded benefits, register your condition online in My Account before visiting the dentist.
TDP members also are covered for two topical fluoride treatments in a consecutive 12-month period. For complete benefit information, select this link.