You use your toothbrush to make your mouth clean and fresh, but did you know it can actually harbor bacteria? Microorganisms that have been found on toothbrushes include Beta-hemolytic streptococcus, which causes strep throat, coliform bacteria, which are found in human feces, and the herpes virus. These germs could potentially make you and your family sick!
By following these simple tips, you can keep your toothbrushes sanitary and safe.
1. Keep Brushes Dry
Toothbrushes need to be kept dry. Microorganisms thrive in moist environments, such as the wet bristles of a toothbrush. Never lay toothbrushes down on the side of the basin or anywhere else where they could end up laying in a pool of water. Instead, invest in a toothbrush holder to keep them upright.
2. Get Your Own!
Never share toothbrushes, even with close family members. You should also store your toothbrush so that it doesn’t come into contact with other family members’ brushes. If toothbrushes are stored with their heads touching, bacteria will be transferred between them. Use a toothbrush holder with a separate slot for each toothbrush to keep them apart.
3. Avoid Airborne Germs…
Ever heard people say that flushing the toilet flings bacteria into the air that settle on your toothbrush? Unfortunately, it’s not just an urban myth: when you flush, a fine mist of contaminated water droplets flies up into the air. Close the lid of the toilet before flushing and store your toothbrushes as far away from the toilet as possible. To keep the concentration of airborne germs low, make sure your bathroom has adequate ventilation to allow a steady flow of fresh, clean air into the room.
4. …But Don’t Avoid the Air
Toothbrush protectors that are closed to the air prevent airborne germs from landing on your toothbrush, but they can actually be counter-productive in terms of hygiene. Toothbrush bristles need to be exposed to the air so that they dry between uses. Keeping brushes capped keeps them wet and encourages the growth of mold.
5. Clean Brushes Every Day
You should rinse your toothbrushes thoroughly each time they are used to remove food particles and toothpaste residue from the bristles. Soak toothbrushes in antibacterial mouthwash for 10 minutes each day to kill any remaining bacteria. Allow the brushes to air-dry after you clean them. For convenience, you could invest in a UV cleaner, which uses a UV light to quickly kill germs on your brushes.
6. Change Brushes Regularly
Change your toothbrush at least once every three to four months. You should also switch to using a new brush when you recover from an illness – otherwise you’re putting the same bacteria that made you sick back into your body.
Keeping Your Toothbrushes Sanitary
By following the above tips, you can keep your family’s toothbrushes free from germs. A clean toothbrush leads to a clean mouth that is free from cavity-causing bacteria. Keep your toothbrushes clean, dry and separated in order to enjoy good dental and overall health.
Guest post contributed by Robert Anders, for ManhattanOrtho.com – A Harvard-trained orthodontic practice. Robert is an experienced dental technician and freelance writer. In his spare time he enjoys passing on helpful dental tips.