For about four minutes every day your toothbrush is in your mouth. That may not sound like a long time but now imagine it’s actually dirty. If you’re not caring for it properly, it just may be. You need to make sure it’s clean and stored properly, and know when to retire it. Dr. Byron C. Desbordes of Baltimore, MD encourages you to take a look at the do’s and don’ts of how to care for your toothbrush so you can keep your smile healthy.
Rinse out your toothbrush with running tap water after use. Leaving toothpaste can cause the bristles to stick together, reducing effectiveness and also means that it might not be clean. Rinsing will also clear away the plaque and bacteria that was just removed from your teeth.
Store your toothbrush upright and in the open to allow it to dry out. Keeping the brush in a moist place like in a case or cabinet can cause mildew or bacteria to grow on your toothbrush. However, some bacteria die when exposed to dry air, so it kills them when the brush is allowed to dry out in the open air!
Replace the toothbrush every 3-4 months or every six months when you see your dentist for a regular cleaning at the absolute latest. If you see bristles have begun coming off, bending, or fraying, you can be sure it’s time to replace the brush.
Don’t share your toothbrush with others. Sharing toothbrushes allows for the transfer of bacteria and germs to others, risking your oral health and the other person’s as well.
Don’t sanitize your toothbrush in mouthwash or other sanitizing agents as it is unnecessary and may even be toxic to you. Allowing the brush to air dry is sufficient to kill most bacteria.
Don’t store it in a container. Although some worry that toothbrushes can exposed to bacteria from the toilet when it flushes, it is unwise to store them in closed containers. Again, bacteria flourish in a closed, moist environment and can be harmful to your mouth and your health.
That being said, don’t store your toothbrush too close to the toilet either as germs can indeed go airborne after flushing and could stick to the toothbrush if it were close enough. Try to store it far away from the toilet where it’s still able to air dry.
Toothbrushes don’t need special cleaning in order to keep them clean, safe and effective. Simply rinsing them out after use and allowing them to dry in open air is enough – just make sure you replace them regularly. For a consultation with Dr. Desbordes to help you make sure you’re taking the best care of your smile, call (410) 216-4023 or schedule online.