Whether you use an electronic toothbrush or a standard one, your toothbrush is what removes plaque and bacteria to help keep your teeth, gums, and even you tongue clean. Over time, your toothbrush is exposed to the millions of bacteria in your mouth as well as food particles, plaque, and even blood from gum disease or brushing too hard. Those are a lot of germs that can accumulate on your toothbrush! How can you keep your toothbrush safe and clean for your oral hygiene routine?
Always Rinse After Use
Rinsing your toothbrush after use is crucial. You don’t need hot or even purified water to do this—a careful rinse with tap water is all that’s needed. Rinsing your toothbrush removes the used toothpaste, food particles, and can help remove other bacteria from the bristles, which can help extend the life of your toothbrush.
Sharing toothbrushes is never recommended. You can expose yourself to dangerous bacteria, viruses, and even blood borne pathogens from people who bleed while they brush. If you’re in need of a toothbrush, you can chew gum, use your finger, or floss and use mouthwash—but never borrow a friend or family member’s toothbrush!
Keep in an Open-Air Space
After your rinse your toothbrush, it’s important to let it dry out in a place where there’s sufficient air circulation. Keeping your toothbrush in a drawer or even behind the mirror isn’t a good idea—these places don’t allow the toothbrush to properly dry out and can even encourage the growth of bacteria and mold. Toothbrush cases can easily harbor bacteria as well!
The best way to store your toothbrush is by keeping it upright in a container that allows it to dry out. If you share a toothbrush container with another person or several people, it’s important to not let these toothbrushes touch. Storing your toothbrush upright allows water to drain off the bristles and the open-air space allows it to dry out and not harbor dangerous bacteria.
Replace Every 4 Months
Our toothbrushes need to be replaced whenever they begin showing signs of wear—this is just as true for electronic toothbrushes as for standard ones! You can easily get rid of the attachment of electronic toothbrushes and get a new one when needed. Standard toothbrushes are inexpensive and affordable to replace!
A good way to tell if your toothbrush is reaching the end of its use is to examine the bristles. If the bristles are frayed, they’re not properly cleaning your teeth and gums. You may also want to replace your toothbrush after an illness or if you’ve recently received treatment for tooth decay or gum disease, as your toothbrush may be holding on to bacteria that could re-introduce these problems to your mouth.
A general rule is every four months—keep track of when you last replaced your toothbrush, and always keep a spare in your home for easy replacement when the time comes!