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Articles Health How to keep your toothbrush germ-free
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How to keep your toothbrush germ-free

Once you’ve finished cleaning your teeth, where do you leave your toothbrush? Dental professionals suggest that where and how you store your toothbrush can have an effect on your oral health.

Health Partners Dental Hygienist Malita McCabe shares her tips on how to properly store your toothbrush to maintain good oral hygiene.

How often should you replace your toothbrush?

Brushing your teeth twice daily is essential when it comes to the prevention of tooth decay, so it makes sense that your toothbrush needs to be in the best condition to clean your teeth effectively.

Malita says, “We recommend replacing your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3 months. A good reminder is to replace it with the change of seasons.”

However, there are signs that your toothbrush may need replacing sooner, including:

  • Frayed or matted bristles
  • In selected toothbrush brands the colour of the bristles will change
  • If you have been unwell
  • If braces are present causing the bristles to deteriorate more rapidly

How should you store your toothbrush?

Our body, including our mouth, is home to billions of microorganisms. However, bathrooms can also harbour potentially harmful bacteria including E.coli and Staphylococcus. To help stop the transfer of these bacteria to your mouth it’s recommended to keep your toothbrush away from the toilet and the sink. You don’t want it to get splashed with dirty or soapy water when family members are washing their hands.

Microbes and bacteria grow faster in damp conditions, so it’s best to store your toothbrush in an upright position in the open air, where water can drain away from the bristles.

Keeping the toothbrush in a closed container where the brushes don’t dry quickly is a poor storage option, as it creates a favourable environment for bacteria to multiply.

Malita says, “It’s also important to not share someone else’s toothbrush.”

Should you sanitise your toothbrush?

Although toothbrush sanitisers are beginning to make their way into the market place they are not really necessary. Dental professionals recommend you simply rinse your toothbrush head and bristles with water to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris before and after use.

It is also not recommended to put your toothbrush through the dishwasher or in the microwave to sterilise it as this could actually damage the bristles.

In summary, to make sure your toothbrush and oral health is in the best possible condition, keep in mind the following:

  1. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or when it’s looking worn
  2. Rinse the toothbrush head with running water after each use
  3. Store it in an upright position, away from the toilet or sink
  4. Don’t share your toothbrush with others
  5. Keep up-to-date with your dental check-ups

Due for a dental check-up?

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