Oral Hygiene

7 Tips to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

Posted by Flipper Museum On February - 3 - 2010Comments Off on 7 Tips to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

The toothbrush plays an important role in maintaining our oral hygiene by removing plaque and bacteria, keeping our pearly-whites clean and sparkling as it work its way around our teeth and gum every day.

However, it is easy to overlook the hygiene and care of the toothbrush itself. Invisible germs and bacteria – including those that cause infections like gingivitis and gum diseases – thrive in high-humidity areas like the bathroom. Thus, if we are not careful with how we use our toothbrushes, we risk turning our toothbrushes from a cleaning tool into a contaminated host where germs grow.

To keep your toothbrush clean, follow these 7 simple tips:

Never share your toothbrushes

Sharing toothbrushes increases the risk of infections, as body fluids and germs can easily transfer from one family member to another. This is especially important for people with infectious diseases or reduced immunity (e.g. the young or the sick).

Avoid toothbrush-toothbrush contact

Many families store their toothbrushes together (e.g. in a cup, on the basin or huddled around in a cabinet). This can cause bacterial cross-contamination, as the germs from one family member passes onto another through the toothbrush.

Keep toothbrushes away from the toilet; close the toilet lid before flushing

While flushing, droplets of contaminated water floats into the surrounding areas, and may land on counter-tops and sinks. Thus, dentists recommend a minimum of 6 feet distance between a toothbrush and the toilet. Even better – close the toilet lid before flushing.

Store your toothbrushes in upright position

Keeping your toothbrushes upright in a well-ventilated area makes it easier for excess water droplets to drain off, so that the toothbrush can stay dry and clean.

Rinse thoroughly after every brush

Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after brushing to ensure that toothpaste, bacteria and small food particles are washed off. However, there is no need to soak the toothbrushes in mouthwash or disinfecting solutions. In fact, this may even increase cross-contamination if the same disinfectant is used multiple times.

Use a toothbrush cover

Howard Glazer, spokesman for Academy for General Dentistry, recommends the use of a toothbrush cover as it effectively protects the toothbrush from various elements: splattering water, skin contact and contact with other toothbrushes.

Replace your toothbrushes regularly

Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months – or when the bristles appear worn – to ensure maximum effectiveness in cleaning. Children’s toothbrushes should be changed more often as they wear out quicker. Remember to wash your new toothbrush before use!

Take care of your toothbrush, and your toothbrush will take care of you!

American Dental Association (ADA)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
British Dental Assciation (BDA)