You work hard to take care of your teeth, visiting Cooper Family Smiles regularly for cleanings and by practicing solid dental hygiene habits by brushing and flossing regularly. In order to make sure your toothbrush is also working hard for you and is not hindering your overall health, it is important to know when and how to clean and replace your toothbrush, as well as how to properly store it.
Replace: The National Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three months (or more often if the bristles show signs of fraying). It can be helpful to keep your cabinet stocked with extra toothbrushes so that you can easily replace your toothbrush (and your family members’ toothbrushes) at the three-month mark or whenever needed.
Disinfect: A breeding ground for millions of bacteria, it is important for optimal health to keep your toothbrush disinfected in between new toothbrushes. This is especially important during the winter months when cold and flu season is in full force. Be sure to clean your toothbrush thoroughly at least once per week. We’d also recommend to disinfect your toothbrush anytime you are ill or fighting a cold.
Here are several effective methods for cleaning your toothbrush to keep it disinfected:
- Soak your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash, such as Listerine, at least once per week. Rinse thoroughly before using again. Not only does this method keep your toothbrush clean, it gives it a fresh flavor.
- Hydrogen Peroxide is also a great disinfectant. Soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide as often as every day in between uses, rinsing it well before brushing your teeth. Refresh the hydrogen peroxide after each use.
- Rubbing alcohol is also an effective sanitizer. Soak your toothbrush for at least five minutes, and then rinse thoroughly before use.
- Dip your toothbrush in boiling water for 5-10 seconds. This will kill off any germs or bacteria breeding on your brush.
- UV (ultraviolet light) toothbrush sanitizers are also effective in keeping toothbrushes disinfected in between brushing sessions. Although they can be costly, you may find that it is worth the investment!
Regardless of what method you use, you should also be rinsing your toothbrush thoroughly with water every time you use it to keep germs and bacteria at bay.
Storage: Proper storage is also important. After using/disinfecting, do not set your wet toothbrush back down in a cabinet or drawer where bacteria can collect. Be sure to store it in an upright container where it is able to dry out properly. A hygienic cap or container can be used to help keep it clean and protected, but you want to ensure it is not air sealed to prevent the growth of bacteria.
These preventative techniques will help keep your toothbrush in top shape so that it does not hinder your overall health and accomplishes the task for which it is made: to keep your teeth and mouth healthy!