You probably already know that brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily is essential for appropriate preventative dental care. Did you know, though, that your dentist has special recommendations for how to best store your toothbrush? It needs to remain in good condition to continue to be effective. You wouldn’t want to be scrubbing your teeth with it if it’s dirty or full of unhealthy bacteria, after all. Keep reading to learn 4 tips to keep your toothbrush in tip-top shape!
Tip #1: Let it Dry Out
It’s easy to assume that you can best protect your toothbrush from unwanted bacteria by covering it up when you’re through or stowing it away inside your medicine cabinet. Doing so, however, actually has the opposite of the intended effect. If you tuck your toothbrush away into a container or drawer right after using it, all those germs you just scoured off your teeth have plenty of opportunity to grow. It needs to air-dry out in the open because toxic microbes flourish in moisture.
Tip #2: Use a Holder
Germs are just as likely to develop on your toothbrush if you lay it down flat after brushing rather than sitting it upright. When it’s horizontally oriented, the water on the bristles pools together which creates a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Dentists recommend placing it in a holder on your countertop so that the water drains away. It’s best to use a holder made for that purpose, rather than random household items like plastic bags, toilet paper rolls, or foil. Makeshift covers won’t have the same air holes to ensure your toothbrush dries properly.
Tip #3: Move it Away from the Toilet
Did you know that when you flush your toilet it creates an aerosol effect and microorganisms can jump anywhere from roughly 3 to 6 feet from the bowl? That means you probably don’t want to store your toothbrush anywhere near it! Ensure that your toothbrush holder is a safe distance from the toilet if you can. If your restroom is small, you can close the lid before flushing for better sanitation. You might also consider keeping your toothbrush away from the sink because when you wash your hands, the germy soap and water can also contaminate it.
Tip #4: Replace it Regularly
If your toothbrush is older than 3-4 months, the American Dental Association recommends replacing it. It isn’t intended to last forever and as the bristles start to fray, it will no longer clean your teeth as thoroughly as it should. Standard toothbrushes are easy to find at most stores and usually are relatively inexpensive so it’s not difficult to keep a clean one at home. If you use an electric brush, stock up on replacement heads so you always have what you need on hand.
A clean toothbrush is a simple and effective way to maintain your perfectly beautiful smile!
About the Author
Dr. S. John Salivonchik is a skilled general, cosmetic, and restorative dentist with years of experience providing a wide range of oral healthcare services. He earned his undergraduate degree at Muhlenberg College and completed his Doctor of Dental Medicine at Temple Dental School. He has since continued his education with countless hours of additional advanced training so that you’re sure to receive the most current treatments available. You’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (610) 502-1545.