In our last blog, we went over how important it is to regularly change your toothbrush and how often to replace it. Now, we’ll look at how to properly care for your toothbrush to keep it as fresh and bacteria-free as possible from the time you buy a new one to the time you replace it.
The entire point of using a toothbrush is removing bacteria from your mouth, which can harbour as many germs as a dirty bathroom floor. Inevitably, this means some bacteria will end up on your toothbrush after brushing.
If your toothbrush is not cared for properly, bacteria and fungus can start developing on the bristles and damage their integrity. Besides being less effective at cleaning your mouth, the bacteria-filled bristles can lead to a host of other problems.
What Are the Worst Places To Store It?
Toothbrushes are like little magnets for bacteria. Unless you want your toothbrush exposed to frequent opportunities to pick up bacteria, avoid storing it near these areas:
- Toilet – Toothbrushes stored within 3 feet of a toilet are susceptible to bacteria exposure from droplets that get thrown into the air during flushes. If you have no other storage options, always make sure to close the toilet lid prior to flushing.
- Sink – When you wash your hands at the sink, whatever is getting washed off your hands can get splashed onto your toothbrush. If you have limited space in your bathroom, consider moving it away from the sink when you wash your hands.
- Shower – The damp atmosphere of showers promotes the growth of microorganisms.
- Plastic Containers – Airtight containers do not allow toothbrushes to dry out between brushings, encouraging the growth of mould and bacteria. Also, storing several toothbrushes together in one container can allow bacteria to spread between the brushes. This is an especially bad idea if any members of your family are sick.
Where Is the Best Place to Store It?
You may be wondering ‘where is the best place to store my toothbrush’? Generally, storing your toothbrush inside a medicine cabinet in an upright position is an ideal option. It protects your toothbrush from debris or particles but still allows it to be exposed to air.
Tips For Properly Caring For Your Toothbrush
Now that we’ve looked at some of the worst places to store your toothbrush, let’s look at some other tips for keeping it as free of bacteria as possible.
- Use the Right Toothpaste – While most toothbrushes are formulated to kill germs, some are especially effective. We would be happy to discuss our top toothpaste recommendations at your next appointment.
- Sharing Is Not Caring – Even if you follow all these tips and take impeccable care of your toothbrush, it is impossible to completely eliminate all bacteria from it. For this reason, it is not recommended to share a toothbrush with anyone, even a significant other. While we may think that kissing someone exposes us to the same germs, sharing a toothbrush is different. Brushing and flossing can create microscopic cuts that could potentially transfer bloodborne pathogens from one person to another if they use the same brush.
- Use Separate Toothpaste Tubes – If you want to be extra safe, consider getting a different tube of toothpaste for each family member. If you are sharing one tube of toothpaste, avoid pressing the bristles onto the tube. Rather, squeeze the toothpaste onto the brush without pressing the bristles to the tube opening.
- Clean the Bristles – An occasional soak in hydrogen peroxide or mouthwash can help decrease the bacterial load on your toothbrush. And every time you brush, rinse it thoroughly afterward with warm water and allow it to dry in an upright position.
- Avoid Damaging Cleaning Methods – Placing your toothbrush in a dishwasher or boiling water can damage the bristles. However, a dishwasher can come in handy when cleaning a toothbrush travel container. This keeps the container clean and germ-free for the next time you need it.
- Dry, Dry, Dry – Before packing your toothbrush in a travel container (the only time it is okay to cover your toothbrush), be sure it is completely dry.
- Wash Your Hands Before You Use Your Toothbrush – If you do not wash your hands prior to brushing your teeth, any germs you have picked up throughout the day can move to your toothbrush and into your mouth.
Let 123 Dental Help You Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
If you need more tips for caring for your toothbrush or need a recommendation on what kind of toothbrush would be ideal for you, please reach out to us or bring it up at your next appointment.
We focus on the importance of educating our patients to help them keep and maintain the healthiest mouth possible!