Think about this: you brush your teeth at least twice daily, which is essential to avoid gum disease and keep your smile looking good.
Your mouth is full of germs, but usually, you just give your toothbrush a quick rinse and put it away after brushing.
Usually, this isn’t a problem. But there are times when it’s important to clean your toothbrush more thoroughly. For example, if someone in your home catches a cold, you should clean your toothbrush because cold germs can easily spread through toothbrushes.
Similarly, if a family member gets the flu, it’s a good idea to clean your toothbrush. It’s especially important to do so if you or someone you know has strep throat, as studies show that strep throat can spread quickly through toothbrushes.
Are you worried about getting sick from a family member, or just want to make sure your toothbrush is clean? Here are some easy ways to sanitize your toothbrush.
How to disinfect your toothbrush?
There are various methods to clean your toothbrush effectively. However, it’s important to know that experts advise against placing your toothbrush in the dishwasher or microwave, as the high heat can harm it.
1. Using UV Toothbrush Sanitizer
Consider getting a specialized ultraviolet (UV) light sanitizer designed for toothbrushes.
One study from a reliable source compared UV light chambers made for toothbrushes against saline solution and chlorhexidine gluconate solution. It found that UV light was the most effective method for sanitizing toothbrushes.
Though these devices can be pricey, and they’re not essential for safe brushing, they can be a good investment for extra cleanliness. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any UV sanitizer you choose.
2. One simple method to clean your toothbrush is to use an antibacterial mouthwash. Soak the toothbrush in mouthwash for around 5 minutes, then rinse it well with hot water and let it dry.
3. Home-made Disinfecting Solutions.
Studies suggest that soaking your toothbrush in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution or antibacterial mouthwash can effectively kill bacteria.
To prepare and use this solution:
- Combine 1 teaspoon of peroxide with 1 cup of water.
- Swirl the toothbrush bristles in the solution or let it soak for 15 minutes.
- Rinse the toothbrush with water before using it.
- If you choose to soak your toothbrush in this solution, remember to change the solution daily.
How to keep a toothbrush clean?
After disinfecting your toothbrush, there are steps you can take to keep it clean.
Proper storage of your toothbrush is as crucial as cleaning it post-use.
1. Store in daily-changed hydrogen peroxide solution
A 2011 study suggests storing your toothbrush in a small cup of hydrogen peroxide can significantly reduce bacterial growth.
Replace the hydrogen peroxide each day and place your toothbrush, and bristles down, into the fresh solution.
2. Keep toothbrushes separated
Storing multiple toothbrushes together can lead to bacterial transfer between them.
In a household with several people, ensure each toothbrush is stored a few inches apart from the others.
3. Distance from the toilet
Toilet flushing can release fecal particles into the air, a phenomenon known as the “toilet plume” effect, spreading bacteria throughout the bathroom.
To prevent contamination, store your toothbrush far from the toilet or in a closed medicine cabinet.
4. Regularly clean toothbrush covers and holders
Bacteria from your toothbrush can transfer to any cover or holder.
Clean these items every two weeks to prevent bacteria buildup.
If you use a toothbrush cover, allow the brush to air dry first; a damp toothbrush can foster more bacteria.
5. Opt for a toothpaste dispenser
Direct contact between your toothbrush and the toothpaste tube can transfer bacteria.
Using a toothpaste pump dispenser minimizes this risk of cross-contamination.
Related reading >> How To Keep Your Electric Toothbrush Clean And Well-Maintained
- Toothbrushes can collect various harmful bacteria, including fecal particles and the flu virus.
- Regularly clean your toothbrush using hot water, mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or denture cleansers for disinfection.
- Avoid placing your toothbrush close to the toilet and don’t store multiple toothbrushes together to prevent cross-contamination.
- It’s important to change your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles become frayed. Also, make sure your toothbrush has time to air dry after each use.
- When you or someone in your home is ill, it’s a good idea to replace the toothbrush after they recover. Additionally, regularly clean your toothbrush holder to maintain hygiene.
- Karibasappa GN, Nagesh L, Sujatha BK. Assessment of microbial contamination of toothbrush head: an in vitro study. Indian J Dent Res. 2011 Jan-Feb;22(1):2-5. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.79965. PMID: 21525668.
- Use & Handling of Toothbrushes. Click here.