Everyone knows that keeping your mouth clean is essential to maintaining good oral health. But did you know that keeping your toothbrush clean is just as crucial? After all, you use it to scrub plaque, bacteria, and leftover food particles off your teeth and tongue which means all that gunk is now on your brush bristles. Unless you disinfect it properly, your brush won’t be as effective in cleaning your teeth. Read on to learn from your dentist in Palo Alto how to clean your toothbrush and keep it that way.
What Are Effective Ways to Clean My Toothbrush?
There are many ways you can keep your toothbrush clean between replacements:
Use Denture Cleanser
If you have dentures, you can use the special cleaning solution to disinfect your toothbrush as well. It’s made up of antimicrobial ingredients that attack bacteria and plaque, making it an excellent sterilization method. Just remember not to reuse the solution on your dentures!
Use a UV Toothbrush Sanitizer
Although a UV toothbrush sanitizer isn’t necessary to clean your toothbrush, it’s an investment that can certainly help keep it sterilized. One study found that UV light is an effective way to disinfect toothbrushes, so it doesn’t hurt to have one if you want it!
Run Hot Water Over It Before and After Each Use
You probably use this approach without even realizing it’s an effective way to sanitize your toothbrush. By running hot water over the bristles before and after each use, you can eliminate bacteria that accumulated between sessions and after brushing. Usually, this technique is sufficient to keep a toothbrush clean in between uses. Keep in mind that the water should be hot enough to produce steam!
Soak It in Antibacterial Mouthwash
Do you want to take it a step further? Soak your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash! To use this method, submerge the bristles in a small cup of mouthwash for about two minutes after brushing your teeth. However, be mindful of how often you utilize this technique – some mouthwash contains harsh ingredients that break the bristles down faster.
How Do I Keep My Toothbrush Clean?
Now that you know how to clean your toothbrush, you’re going to want to keep it that way! Here’s how to ensure it is cleansed between uses:
- To keep bacterial growth at a minimum, try storing your toothbrush in a hydrogen peroxide solution that’s changed daily.
- Does your household store toothbrushes together? Be sure to keep them a couple of inches apart from each other. Otherwise, you risk bacterial cross-contamination among the bristles.
- When you flush the toilet, fecal matter rises into the air and spreads harmful bacteria all over your bathroom, including your toothbrush! To prevent contamination, keep it as far away from the toilet as possible.
- After brushing your teeth, let your toothbrush air dry by storing it in an open container or holder. Covering it can lead to more bacteria growth on the bristles.
Taking proper care of your toothbrush is just as important as your efforts for your teeth. Make sure to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months (or as soon as the bristles become splayed) to get the most out of your brushing sessions!
About the Author
Dr. Branimir Vatavuk earned his dental doctorate from the University of Southern California, and during that time he received an award for excellence in oral and maxillofacial pathology. He previously studied at the University of California at San Diego which marked the crucial point when Dr. Vatavuk realized he wanted to be a dentist. He is a member of the American Dental Association. Dr. Vatavuk will be glad to expand on how crucial it is to have a clean, well-maintained toothbrush when he provides your next dental cleaning and exam, which you can schedule on his website or by calling (650) 328-7333.