You know the importance of good oral hygiene. That’s why you diligently brush your teeth two to three times per day. Yet, you may not realize that your toothbrush can actually be full of millions of bacteria. Researchers have found that toothbrushes are often covered with E. coli, staphylococci, and even fecal germs. Yuck!
There is no need to panic, however. There are plenty of ways to keep your toothbrush clean – and your mouth healthy.
Keep You Toothbrush Clean
According to an associate professor at the Dental Hygiene Research Center at Old Dominion University, “There (are) hundreds of microorganisms in our mouths every day.” In fact, the plaque that you are cleaning off your teeth with each brushing is a type of bacteria.
It only becomes a problem when the natural bacteria in your mouth become unbalanced. Things that can throw your mouth off balance include putting dirty items in your mouth (like your fingernails!) and using another person’s toothbrush.
While a healthy immune system can generally fight off the tiny bacteria that are hiding out in your bristles, it is still recommended by your Illinois family dentist that you keep your toothbrush clean.
Keep Your Brush Away from the Toilet
Unfortunately, most people tend to store their toothbrushes on their bathroom counter near the sink. While that is a convenient spot for your brush, it is also generally in close proximity to the toilet.
Every time a person flushes, fecal bacteria is released into the air. If your toothbrush is laying out in the open… bacteria may be finding a new home in your bristles. If you ask the professionals at your family dentistry office, they will recommend storing your brush as far away from your toilet as possible. Ideally, you could put it in a medicine cabinet to protect it.
Remember: Always close the lid on your toilet before you flush!
Wash That Toothbrush Holder
Plenty of people have a cute little toothbrush holder that matches their bathroom decor. While it is certainly a lovely addition to the space, it can also be a safe harbor for germs and bacteria. Plus, if it is one the bathroom counter near the toilet…
Studies have found the toothbrush holder to be one of the germiest items in the standard household. It ranks up there with the kitchen sink. Don’t worry, you don’t have to toss your pretty toothbrush holder! Just add it to the list of items that you are cleaning on a regular basis.
Sanitize My Toothbrush
Now that you know about the germs, bacteria, and viruses that can be lurking in your bristles, you are probably wondering if you should be tossing out your toothbrush every day. Good news! You don’t have to start with a fresh one every time you go to brush.
Start by storing it properly to avoid the bulk of the bacteria.
- Move it away from the toilet
- Keep it upright in a holder that is regularly clean
- Let it air dry between uses
- Avoid multiple toothbrushes touching each other in the storage space
Your Illinois dentist also recommends replacing your toothbrush at regular intervals and after any flu or other sickness.
In between replacements, you can sanitize your brush to keep things even more sparkling clean. While the pharmacy shelves may be full of sprays and rinses that claim to sanitize your brush, you can easily use an antibacterial mouth rinse. Simply soak your brush in the rinse for a few minutes to reduce a fair amount of the germs clinging to the bristles.
While you may have seen “life hacks” telling you to microwave your brush or toss it in the dishwasher, these tactics are not recommended as most toothbrushes are not designed for it. You may damage your toothbrush or even end up with a lump of melted plastic in your microwave.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental care is the secret to a lifelong happy smile. If you have any questions or concerns about sanitizing your toothbrush, feel free to call Comfort Care Family Dental.