Your toothbrush spends a lot of time in your mouth, so you need to make sure it’s cleaned and stored properly. You also need to know when to swap it out for a new one! Dr. Donald J. Alexander and Dr. Michael M. Greenberg encourage you to learn the do’s and don’ts of toothbrush care to keep your smile healthy.
Rinse your toothbrush when you’re finished with it. Rinsing thoroughly with tap water will remove leftover toothpaste residue and plaque that you just removed from your teeth.
Store your toothbrush in an open place so it can air dry. Also, make sure it’s stored upright as opposed to lying on its side. You want excess water to drip off, not collect at the bristles, because a lot of bacteria thrive in moisture. Never leave the toothbrush in a medicine cabinet or closed container when it’s wet.
Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. At the latest, replace it every six months when you see your dentist for your regular cleaning. Replace sooner if you notice bristles fraying, bending, or coming off, as these are signs that the toothbrush is no longer as effective.
Don’t share toothbrushes, even with your significant other. Oral bacteria can be transferred between individuals, and foreign bacteria in your mouth can make you sick.
Don’t sanitize it in mouthwash or hand sanitizer, or any other kind of sanitizing agent. This is unnecessary and may even be poisonous to you, as these chemicals could get absorbed through the gums or be swallowed. Simply rinsing it with tap water and allowing it to air dry is enough to kill off bacteria that die when exposed to air.
Don’t store your toothbrush in a closed container or medicine cabinet when it’s wet. Bacteria love moisture and low-oxygen environments, so keeping the toothbrush out in the open keeps many bacteria from growing.
However, don’t store your toothbrush close to the toilet, as germs can go airborne after flushing. You are already surrounded by these bacteria simply by flushing, but it’s still a good idea to store your toothbrush a few feet away from the toilet, if possible.
Simply rinsing the toothbrush after use and storing it upright to air dry is all you need to keep your toothbrush clean. Replace them regularly for the best effects.