A toothbrush is a traditional and most important instrument for your oral hygiene maintenance. The moment you get your first baby teeth, you become the proud owner of your very own toothbrush.
Since toothbrushes help us get rid of contaminants and bacteria in our mouth, it makes sense that we keep our toothbrushes in the same way.
Did any of us ever consider that the way you store your toothbrush could make a difference to your oral health?
Safe storage for your toothbrush isn’t complicated or complex. But while doing so, you can keep other germs and contaminants away from your toothbrushes and your mouth.
Whether you are at home or traveling, these tips will help keep your toothbrush and your mouth in the best possible shape.
Safe and hygienic ways to store your toothbrush
- Before putting away your toothbrush, give it a good and thorough rinse with tap water. Make sure you are not leaving any toothpaste or debris in the head of the brush.
- Store toothbrushes in an upright position after use and allow them to air dry. Storing a wet toothbrush in a closed container promotes microbial growth more so than leaving it exposed to the open air.
- Don’t let toothbrushes touch each other if they belong to different family members. Bacteria on one brush can cross-contaminate another.
- Make sure you don’t keep your toothbrush too close to the sink. It could get splashed with dirty or soapy water when family members are washing their hands.
- Keep the toothbrush at least three feet away from the toilet. Keeping your brush out in the open exposes it to ‘toilet plume.’ ‘Toilet plume’ is the aerosolized cloud of microscopic particles including urine and feces that sprays into the air, and onto surrounding surfaces when you flush the toilet.
- Make sure your toothbrush isn’t standing where it could get in contact with harsh or toxic ingredients from the cleaning products.
What to avoid?
Toothbrushes should not be shared. Sharing a toothbrush could result in an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms between people.
Toothbrushes should be replaced approximately every three to four months or more often if the bristles become matted or frayed. The effectiveness of the brush decreases as the bristles become worn.
Avoid soaking your toothbrushes in disinfecting solutions or mouthwashes to sanitize it. It might just provide more opportunities for cross-contamination.
It is also advised not to use microwaves, dishwashers, or ultraviolet sanitizing devices.