Taking care of your toothbrush

Some toothbrushes in a plastic glass

Your toothbrush can wear down rapidly and can even harbor germs and bacteria if you don’t take good care of it. Bacteria and viruses from a person’s mouth can live for weeks on a toothbrush, continuing to cause ill health. Toothbrushes can sometimes harbor fecal coliform bacteria that’s been released into the air when you flush the toilet or touch a contaminated surface before you brush.
It’s even possible for healthy, normal microorganisms to create infection when they enter your gum tissue due to an ulcer or injury. Toothbrushes are not required to be sold in sterile packaging, so could harbor bacteria before use.
You might not give lots of thought to cleaning your toothbrush as you wet it and use it daily. But you can’t effectively clean your teeth is your brush is ineffective, dirty and worn. Follow the below tips to properly maintain your toothbrush.

1)Wash your hands:
Your hand can harbor many germs that can transfer onto anything you touch. Wash your hands thoroughly before you brush to minimize the risk of getting these on your toothbrush and into your mouth.

2)Never share your toothbrush:
The ADA recommends you should never share your toothbrush with anyone. Doing this can result in microorganism and body fluid exchanges between users. You could be placing yourself at an increased infection risk. If you have an existing infectious disease or a compromised immune system, you should be particularly aware of this.

3)Always rinse your toothbrush:
Rinse your toothbrush well with tap water after you brush. You need to ensure that you completely remove remaining debris and toothpaste. You may want to soak your brush in antibacterial mouthwash if you have an immune disorder or a systemic illness.

4)Try deep cleaning:
To ensure your brush is completely germ-free, you can use toothbrush sanitizer from time to time.
Allow your toothbrush to dry naturally. Always store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air dry after use. Circulating air helps prevent your brush from going moldy and from growing bacteria in a wet, enclosed environment.

5)Never regularly store toothbrushes in closed containers:
Using a toothbrush cover is okay if you need to store your toothbrush when you’re on vacation for a few days. You should never do this routinely though as a moist environment is perfect for microorganisms to grow.

6)Replace your toothbrush regularly:
It’s good practice to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. As the bristles become worn and frayed, the effectiveness of your brush is reduced. Get into the habit of checking your toothbrush regularly for signs of wear. You may need to replace your brush for frequently than every three or four months. Bear in mind that kid’s toothbrushes often need to be replaced more frequently than adult ones. Children tend to be harder on their brushes than adults. Also, they may tend to chew on the bristles.

Separate toothbrushes. Keep all toothbrushes separated to prevent cross-contamination if you store more than one brush in the same area.