Researchers have found that a single toothbrush can be loaded with as many as 10 million germs and bacteria, but sometimes these all can be washed away by simply soaking your toothbrush in boiling water or sending it through a hot spin cycle in the dishwasher. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends changing toothbrushes every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed, but how do we properly care for our brushes until we have to replace them?
American Dental Association General Recommendations for Toothbrush Care
- Do not share toothbrushes – Sharing a toothbrush could result in an exchange of body fluids and/or microorganisms between the users of the toothbrush, placing the individuals involved at an increased risk for infections.
- Rinse those brushes – Thoroughly rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris.
- Store them properly – Store your toothbrush in an upright position if possible and allow the toothbrush to air-dry until used again. If more than one brush is stored in the same holder or area, keep the brushes separated to prevent cross-contamination.
- Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers – It’s understandable that you may need to do this while traveling, but be aware that a moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms than the open air.
- Replace toothbrushes at least every 3-4 months – Toothbrushes will wear out more rapidly depending on the factors of each user. When the bristles become frayed and worn with use, cleaning effectiveness will decrease and therefore it is time for your brush or brush head to be replaced.
Toothbrush Care after Illness
There has been plenty of debate on whether or not you should replace your toothbrush after illness, however all professionals agree that you should at least sterilize it. Following the general recommendations for toothbrush care is sufficient to remove most microorganisms from your toothbrush and limit the spread of disease. A standard toothbrush holder with slots for several brushes to hang upright is a worthwhile investment in your family’s health.
This newsletter/website is not intended to replace the services of a doctor. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Information in this newsletter/website is for informational purposes only & is not a substitute for professional advice. Please do not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating any condition.