You have your toothbrush in your mouth for 4 minutes every day. That may not sound like very long but now imagine if you knew it were dirty. If you aren’t properly caring for it or storing it, it might just be. It’s essential to make sure your toothbrush is clean and that you are storing it properly when you’re done. Equally important is knowing when it’s time to replace it.
Dr. Michael H. Mulkey of Lost Mountain Dental at Due West in Marietta, GA encourages you to take a look at these do’s and don’ts of toothbrush care so you can keep your smile healthy.
Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water when you’re done brushing. Leaving toothpaste residue (and probably more with it) behind means that all that is going in your mouth next time you use it. Rinsing your brush gets rid of the toothpaste and whatever you brushed off of your teeth
Store the brush upright and open to allow it to air dry. Doing this allows the excess water to run off and the bristles to dry so you won’t get mildew or bacteria growth on your toothbrush. Some bacteria die when exposed to air, so letting the brush dry out in the open air kills them off!
Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or every six months at the absolute latest. A good way to remind yourself is to buy a new toothbrush when you go see your dentist for your routine cleaning. If you notice bristles coming off, bending, or fraying, those are signs that it’s time to replace your brush.
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 toxic to you. Allowing the brush to air dry should kill most harmful bacteria.
Don’t store it in a closed container. While you may have heard that toothbrushes can catch bacteria from toilets when they flush, don’t store them in closed containers. This closed environment allows bacteria to flourish on a moist toothbrush, which would be harmful to your mouth.
That being said, don’t keep your toothbrush too close to the toilet bowl either. Germs can become airborne after flushing the toilet and they could find their way onto your toothbrush if it’s too close. Try to store your brush someplace away from the toilet but where it’s still able to dry in the open air.
Your toothbrush doesn’t need special cleaning in order to be safe and effective. Simply rinsing it out after use, letting it drip dry in open air and replacing them regularly is good enough. For a consultation with Dr. Mulkey at Lost Mountain Dental to help you make sure you’re taking the best care of your smile, call (678) 212-1280 or schedule online.