Your toothbrush spends around four minutes a day in your mouth, so you need to make sure it’s clean and stored properly, and know when to retire it. Dr. Doyle Freano, Jr. of Lexington, KY 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.
DO these things with your toothbrush:
- Rinse your toothbrush with tap water after using it. Leaving toothpaste residue means that it won’t be clean for the next time you use it, and the rinse will clear away the plaque that was just removed from your teeth.
- Store the brush upright and open to allow it to air dry. This allows the excess water to dry off so you won’t get mildew or bacteria growth on your toothbrush. Some bacteria die when exposed to air, so letting the brush air dry kills them off!
- Replace the toothbrush every 3-4 months, or at the absolute latest, every six months when you see your dentist for a regular cleaning. If you notice bristles coming off, bending, or fraying, replace the brush when that happens.
DON’T do these things with your toothbrush:
- Don’t share toothbrushes. Sharing toothbrushes allows for the transfer of bacteria to others, risking not only your oral health, but the other person’s as well.
- Don’t sanitize the toothbrush in mouthwash or other sanitizing agents. This is unnecessary and may even be poisonous to you. Allowing the brush to air dry is enough to kill bacteria that die when exposed to air.
- Don’t store it in a closed container. While you may have heard that toothbrushes are exposed to bacteria from the toilet, don’t store them in closed containers. This allows bacteria to flourish in moisture and a closed environment, which would be harmful to your mouth.
- That being said, don’t store your toothbrush too close to the toilet. Germs can indeed go airborne after flushing and stick to the toothbrush. 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 sanitary. Simply rinsing them after use and allowing them to air dry is enough to keep your smile clean and healthy – just make sure you replace them regularly.