How Dirty is Your Toothbrush?

By In General Dentistry September 1, 2019

You may not think twice about using your toothbrush, but you might be surprised what’s lingering on its bristles. The truth is, if not properly cared for, there can be millions of potentially harmful bacteria, including E. coli and staph, on your toothbrush, especially if stored near the toilet.

It may be uncomfortable, but it’s worth thinking about so that you can be proactive in protecting your health. When left on the sink of your bathroom, your toothbrush is vulnerable to any number of bacteria and viruses. Just the act of washing one’s hands or flushing the toilet can leave your toothbrush coated with unwanted microscopic organisms.

The Oral Environment

Your toothbrush not only picks up germs in the atmosphere, but it also accumulates oral bacteria while you brush. If you are sick, these germs can also be deposited on your toothbrush.

There are between one and two hundred species of oral bacteria in your mouth at any given time. Some of these microbes are beneficial, but most need to be cleared away twice per day to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Bacteria originating from the mouth can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss.

Tips to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

  1. Wash your hands before brushing your teeth so that you are not transferring any germs onto the toothbrush.
  2. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush in hot tap water and remove any debris from the bristles and handle. Shake the toothbrush to remove excess water.
  3. Allow it to air dry in an open container that is cleaned weekly. Moisture in closed containers helps bacteria grow.
  4. Keep toothbrushes separate, as letting them touch can cause cross-contamination, most especially if someone in your household is sick.
  5. Replace your toothbrush at least every three months.
  6. Store your toothbrush at least two feet from the toilet, and flush with the lid closed.
  7. If you’ve been ill, soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash, or better yet, throw it away and get a new one.

Your oral and overall health are closely connected. By keeping your toothbrush and mouth clean, you are taking an important step in safeguarding your total wellbeing. Call Bayside Dental & Orthodontics today to learn more about ways to ensure that your smile stays healthy and beautiful.