How to keep your toothbrush clean
You use your toothbrush to clean your teeth, but how do you keep your toothbrush clean? There are many ways toothbrushes can collect germs beyond the food debris picked up from your mouth. You can spread bacteria to your toothbrush by touching a contaminated surface before handling your brush. Tiny water droplets that contain bacteria can bounce from your sink to the bristles of your brush. Even flushing your toilet releases bacteria into the air that can land on your toothbrush.
While these scenarios are unpleasant to think about, the good news is that the bacteria on your toothbrush aren't likely to cause you any harm. Nonetheless, here are some ways to keep your brush as clean as possible:
- Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after each use to remove any remaining paste and debris. Tap or shake off as much water as possible.
- Store your toothbrush upright in an environment that allows it to dry out completely between uses. Storing a moist toothbrush in a closed container can promote microbial growth.
- If you store several toothbrushes in the same area, don't let them touch each other (especially the brush heads).
- Never share a toothbrush with anyone.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or more often if the bristles become matted or frayed. The effectiveness of the brush decreases as bristles become worn. Replace your toothbrush immediately after being sick with a cold, flu or other illness.
Using ultraviolet devices, microwaves or dishwashers to sanitize your toothbrush is generally not recommended as high heat may damage the brush. Soaking your toothbrush in antiseptic mouthwash or 3% hydrogen peroxide can kill some bacteria, but leaving it in longer than 15 minutes can damage the bristles. To keep your toothbrush as germ-free as possible without impacting its ability to clean your teeth, follow the tips above.