With three young kids at home, it seems like we’ve been exposed to every germ this winter. Parent or not, I know I’m not the only one who feels like they need hand sanitizer in their back pocket this time of year. We take so many precautions to avoid getting sick, but we might be forgetting to disinfect the appliances that go in our mouth.
Whether it’s a toothbrush, Invisalign® tray, mouth guard, HEALTHYSTART™ appliance or a sleep appliance, it’s a good idea to make sure these appliances aren’t carrying germs. It’s recommended that you:
- replace your toothbrush every three months or after recovering from an illness
- Store your toothbrush in a dry area away from the toilet
- Wash your hands before brushing and flossing
- Use your own tube of toothpaste if you’ve been sick
- Keep travel sized toothpaste on hand this time of year. You can throw a smaller tube away after an illness and reduce waste by avoiding throwing an entire tube of toothpaste out.
An oral appliance is not easily replaced like a toothbrush. So, throwing out your appliances isn’t feasible. Heat (dishwasher or boiling) can damage an appliance. Knowing the proper cleaning techniques will help ensure you stay healthy and ensure the longevity of the appliance. Using a Denture Cleaner or soaking them in a vinegar water mixture is a great way to keep them clean. It’s also best practice to have a dedicated toothbrush to clean the appliances with dish soap and water daily. Invisalign® trays and HEALTHYSTART™ appliances can be brushed with toothpaste. When you brush the appliance, let the toothpaste sit for about five minutes before rinsing. Toothpaste is too abrasive for most other oral appliances. If you’ve been ill, the best way to disinfect your appliance is to soak it in 100 parts water, one part bleach, for 60 minutes. Please use caution with bleach, and rinse the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth.
As the days get longer, we look forward to putting snotty noses in the past. In the meantime, stay healthy by keep your mouth as germ free as possible!