It is extremely likely that the phrase “toothbrush care” has a particular connotation among people of most ages; as soon as your toothbrush bristles are looking worn out, it’s time to get a replacement. If you’re following this handy tip at home, you’re already doing a good job keeping your brush healthy, and your mouth by extension. If you’re also remembering to replace your brush every three to four months regardless of how the bristles look, you’re actually doing a pretty fantastic job. Hooray for you! But even with the basics in mind, you may have some bad habits that are keeping you from being the true dental envy of your friends. Don’t be sad! We’re here to show you the path to a better brush. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Due to the nature of what a toothbrush is, where it goes and what it does, it makes sense that there is a potential for bacterial buildup over time. Mouths tend to have a lot going on inside them, and toothpaste is more targeted at keeping your mouth’s ecosystem happy than waging bacterial war, or even keeping itself clean. Keeping bacterial buildup to a minimum on a toothbrush is a smart idea, and it’s easier to accomplish than one might think. Two very important and easy steps are to always rinse and air dry your brush after use: rinsing thoroughly will remove most food and leftover toothpaste, and an upright air dry is enough to kill most bacteria. Always let a brush air dry before storing it away!
Not all dangers are a result of mouth contact, however. It is equally important to be aware of the environment in which your brush resides, particularly in relation to a toilet. A flushed toilet is able to carry potentially harmful particles outward within a six-foot radius, which for many people is within spitting distance of their toothbrush’s home. Any steps that are able to mitigate this short distance will help keep your brush safer, but be aware that capping your brush head while wet will still create a moist breeding ground for bacterial growth. One potential solution would be replacing a plastic cap with a disposable fabric-based solution, which can wick away moisture while protecting the brush head from outside contaminants. Just remember to change said cover as often as specified!
Finally, please don’t try to extend the length of your brush life further than recommended! We all love our brushes, but it’s important to be able to let go sometimes. While there is technical merit to the idea of soaking a toothbrush in mouthwash after each use, or utilizing a UV-light sanitizer, the reality is that air drying will be comparable (and likely easier on the bristles) to both approaches. Apparently some people even try to clean their brushes by putting them in the microwave…hopefully I don’t have to dissuade you from this shocking practice. Melted toothbrush, anyone?
With all of this information at your side, I hope you’ll all brush with confidence, knowing that you’re doing right by your toothbrush and your teeth. Keeping your toothbrush new, clean and dry is simple to do, and your mouth will appreciate the care you’ve given its bristly companion.
Below are some American Dental Association (ADA) recommended oral care items via our Amazon Smile links!
- Colgate Adult Extra Clean Toothbrush
- Oral-B Indicator ContourClean Toothbrush
- Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste
- Hello Kids Fluoride Toothpaste
- Sensodyne Fresh Impact Toothpaste
- Act Alcohol Free Anti-Cavity Fluoride Rinse
- Tom's of Maine Children's Anti-Cavity Fluoride Rinse
For more recommendations please click the ADA link above!
Cambridge, MA. Recent graduate of UMass Lowell, passionate about healthcare development.
Waltham, MA. Passionate about oral health and maintaining his squeaky clean teeth.