One of the things in your home that you should keep clean at all times is your toothbrush. Whether you are using electric toothbrushes or not, you can be sure that they carry germs and bacteria that can be harmful to your health.
The thing is, after you use your toothbrush to scrub the bacteria and plaque off your teeth and tongue, it will bring whatever it has gotten rid of along with it. Plus, you probably store it in the bathroom where there can also be lingering bacteria.
To help you out with this, we have gathered different ways you can clean and disinfect your toothbrush. Whether you are using an electric toothbrush or not, these methods can help you ensure it’s not just clean but also safe to use.
Different Ways to Clean and Disinfect Your Toothbrush
Although there are lots of ways you can disinfect your toothbrush in between uses, some may be more effective at doing the job than others. Below are some of them:
Use Hot Water Before and After Each Use
Running hot water over the bristles of your toothbrush is the most basic and often used method of sanitizing toothbrushes. It helps eliminate new bacteria which may accumulate on the bristles after every use.
Before you put on toothpaste, run hot water over your toothbrush’s head. It does not have to be boiling. Just hot enough to produce steam in your bathroom. Once you are done brushing your teeth and tongue, run some more hot water over your toothbrush.
If you are not satisfied with just using hot water and you are thinking of boiling your toothbrushes, then keep in mind that you don’t need to do this. Most toothbrushes have plastic handles, and these will melt in boiling water. However, if you are keen about using boiling water, then you can just use this to dip your brush in for about 30 seconds.
Steep Toothbrushes in Antibacterial Mouthwash
If hot or boiling water will not do for you, then you can steep your brushes in antibacterial mouthwash. Just soak the head of your toothbrush in a small cup of mouthwash for two minutes after brushing your teeth. You have to know though that this will wear out your toothbrushes faster as mouthwashes contain harsh ingredients that will break down bristles faster.
Use Dental Cleansers
Aside from mouthwash and hot water, another thing you can use in disinfecting your toothbrush is a denture cleansing solution. Denture cleansers are made of antimicrobial ingredients that target oral plaque and bacteria. Just dissolve half of a dental cleanser tablet in a cup of water and place your toothbrush in this solution for about 90 seconds.
Just remember not to reuse the dental cleaning solution that you have already used for your dentures.
How to Maintain the Cleanliness of Your Toothbrush
Disinfecting your toothbrush is not enough. There are other ways to keep it clean when not in use. First off, you need to store your toothbrush properly as this is as important as sanitizing it after every use.
You can also store your toothbrush in a hydrogen peroxide solution. A study showed that keeping your toothbrush in a cup of hydrogen peroxide is a practical and effective way to minimize bacterial growth. You need to change this solution before you place your toothbrush in every day. Make sure all the bristles are covered all the way by the hydrogen peroxide.
If you are living with other people, then you have to stop from storing toothbrushes next to each other. Several toothbrushes placed together inside a cup can cause cross contamination of bacteria among the bristles. Because of this, toothbrushes should be kept a couple of inches away from each other.
Although the most practical place to store your toothbrushes is in the bathroom, do your best to put it as far away from the toilet as you can.
Keep in mind that fecal matter can rise into the air when you flush the toilet. This is known as the “toilet plume” and can spread harmful bacteria on all bathroom surfaces, including your toothbrushes.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you store your toothbrush inside a medicine cabinet with a door you can close shut. If you do not have a medicine cabinet, then just place your toothbrush far away from the toilet.
It is also imperative that you clean your toothbrush cover and holder regularly as this can also carry the bacteria from your toothbrush. You need to clean them every two weeks so you can keep all harmful bacteria away.
Although it is not really necessary to place a cover on your toothbrush, just be sure to let it air dry first before you do so. Putting a cover on your wet toothbrush can cause more bacterial growth on the bristles.
Now that you already have all this information in hand about keeping your toothbrush clean and safe for use every time, you have to remember to replace it or your electric toothbrush head every three to four months. It is also best if you throw away your brush as soon as the bristles are worn out, frayed or bent, as this won’t be able to clean your teeth as efficiently.
If someone in your house is sick or has a contagious disease such as flu or strep throat, then you should throw away your toothbrush as well. If you will continue on using it, then it is possible that it can spread infection. The same goes if you have shared your toothbrush with someone. People’s mouths have different flora, so you should not be brushing your teeth with something that has already been in someone else’s mouth.