We spend a lot of time making sure our teeth are clean every day. We brush our teeth twice a day, floss, use mouthwash, all in the name of good dental hygiene. But how much attention do we pay to our toothbrush itself? If you’re like most people, probably not a lot.
If not cleaned properly, toothbrushes can be a harbor for bacteria. Fortunately, these easy hygiene habits can help keep your toothbrush clean and ready for use.
Don’t Cover Toothbrushes
One of the most important things to know about storing your toothbrush is that you should store it out in the open as opposed to inside containers and covers. Covering toothbrushes can create an environment that promotes bacterial growth, so the American Dental Association recommends keeping them in the open air.
Replace Toothbrushes Regularly
The ADA also recommends keeping toothbrushes for a maximum of four months. The suggest replacing toothbrushes at least every three to four months due to wear that comes with regular use. This causes the effectiveness of each cleaning to decrease, so be sure to replace your toothbrush if your bristles begin to fray.
Rinse With Warm Water After Brushing
The best way to keep your toothbrush clean is to rinse it thoroughly with warm water after brushing. This will help remove any food particles or toothpaste residue that hangs around after brushing. When it comes down to it, you use your toothbrush to scrape away unwanted debris in your mouth, so take the time to give your brush a good rinse.
Don’t Share Toothbrushes
This one should be a given, but it’s important NOT to share toothbrushes. Sharing toothbrushes can spread germs and bacteria, which can be especially harmful in spreading the flu, colds or other viruses. Practice safe brushing and keep your toothbrush to yourself.
There’s No Need To Sanitize Toothbrushes
Some might suggest sanitizing toothbrushes with commercial products like antibacterial mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide, but the ADA says there is no available evidence to support that this helps. “While there is evidence of bacterial growth on toothbrushes, there is no clinical evidence that soaking a toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthrinse or using a commercially-available toothbrush sanitizer has any positive or negative effect on oral or systemic health,” the ADA’s website reads.
The Final Word
Taking a little bit of time to make sure your toothbrush is clean each day and replacing it periodically will help reduce bacteria and microorganisms that occupy your toothbrush. Keeping toothbrushes clean doesn’t take a lot of effort, just the right knowledge that we examined above.