Feeling the urge to scour your baseboards with Q-tips® and purge your fridge of leftovers? It must be spring. When your spring-cleaning fever hits the bathroom, be sure to pay attention to more than just soap scum. By adding a few oral health items to your checklist, your smile will stay as fresh and clean as your house.
Check expiration dates. Toothpaste, mouthwash and floss all carry expiration dates. While using them past the dates probably won’t do much damage, they won’t help, either: The expiration on toothpaste and mouthwash means the active ingredients won’t work as well after that date, and the expiry on floss is usually associated with a flavor. Your favorite cinnamon-flavored floss may not deliver the same piquant punch after about a year.
Replace toothbrushes. While you’re cleaning, check out the family toothbrushes. If they’re more than three or four months old, replace them. You should also invest in new toothbrushes if the bristles look frayed and worn. The same advice goes for toothbrush heads on electric toothbrushes.
Assess your toothbrush storage situation. If your toothbrush is in a cup on the counter, you’re doing great—as long as it’s not touching the bristles of another toothbrush or sitting too close to the toilet. By the way, make sure the toilet lid is closed when you flush—particles from inside the bowl can travel up to six feet if the lid is open, which is exceptionally gross if you store your toothbrush on the counter. Though it may seem helpful to store toothbrushes in an airtight container so these things don’t happen, a damp toothbrush in an enclosed space is actually a great breeding ground for bacteria.
You can also put your oral health products to work during your spring-cleaning spree. Old toothbrushes are great for scouring tile grout, cleaning the soles of shoes, scrubbing upholstery, or brushing crumbs from computer keyboards. Floss also does a good job at getting down into the crevices of a keyboard or the nooks, crannies and cracks found in furniture.