The toothbrush is one if not the most important tool for dental hygiene. It is something that cannot be absent from your bathroom. Brushing our teeth at least twice every day is mandatory for having a healthy beautiful smile.
That is why today we are going to share some useful tips on how you can take care of your toothbrush so it will last you long enough before changing it for another one. These following tips can be applied to electric toothbrushes too.
How to clean your toothbrush after use
You should clean your toothbrush after every use. It is something really easy to do and it should not take more than 5 minutes a day. The most simple way to disinfect your toothbrush is using hot water to kill the bacteria.
You can use running hot water or boiling water to remove food debris and germs and keep your toothbrush clean after brushing your teeth. Make sure to rinse the toothbrush using cold water after to avoid damage to the bristles.
Because most people keep their toothbrush in the bathroom it tends to accumulate germs easily since the place is often very humid and it makes it harder for the toothbrush to completely dry. So, after you disinfect your toothbrush, let it air dry.
Cleaning your toothbrush with an antibacterial mouthwash is a very good option.
It could be the same antiseptic mouthwash you use to rinse your mouth after brushing so you won’t have to buy any special products. Denture cleanser products are also a good choice.
Use a small cup to soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash with a bit of warm water for a few minutes after you brush your teeth and then let it dry completely. Having a clean toothbrush is not hard if you make sure to do it often.
How to disinfect your toothbrush
As we know, thousands of bacteria live in our mouth, some are essential for our overall health but some others cause plaque and many dental diseases. To make sure you have a clean toothbrush and remove microorganisms, you could use various disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide, antiseptic mouthwash, or even baking soda.
- Hydrogen peroxide has proven to be a good way to disinfect microbially contaminated toothbrushes. You can buy hydrogen peroxide in any pharmacy.
- Use one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide in one cup of hot water to soak the toothbrush for 15 minutes. Then rinse the toothbrush with enough tap water to remove the peroxide.
- Denture cleanser and antiseptic mouthwash contain antimicrobial ingredients so you can also use them to clean your toothbrushes.
Remember that an electric toothbrush can be disinfected the same way as a regular one
If you don’t want to use any of the products mentioned before, there are some other ways to clean your toothbrush and keep them germ-free.
- Boil your toothbrush for a couple of minutes and then soak it with cold water to avoid damaging the plastic.
- Use a combination of white vinegar or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) with hot water to soak the bristles for some minutes.
- Use regular soap to wash the toothbrush holder, the toothpaste and all surfaces of your sink.
It is not recommended to put your toothbrushes in the microwave for sanitization since the heat can damage toothbrush bristles.
How to prevent toothbrush contamination
Pay attention to these important tips on proper toothbrush care to keep good oral hygiene and prevent oral health problems.
- Rinse your mouth before using the toothbrush. Although this is a very simple thing to do, if you rinse your mouth with just water before brushing you will get rid of most of the food debris so it will be fewer food particles in the bristles of the toothbrush.
- Keep your toothbrush where it can receive open air. A wet toothbrush head is a perfect environment for the bacteria to grow, so it is recommended to let it air dry and keep it in an open and dry place. Avoid using toothbrush covers and store them always in an upright position. If using toothbrush covers, be sure that the toothbrush is totally dry before placing the cover.
- Place the toothbrushes as far as possible from the toilet seat. Every time we flush the toilet a lot of little drops of water with bacteria and even fecal matter (streptococcus mutans) get in the air, setting in almost all surfaces of our bathroom, including the sink and the toothbrush.
- That is why it is important to place the toothbrush holder as far away as possible from the toilet. You can store your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet as long as it is in a dry place. Also, it is always good to flush the toilet with the lid down.
- Don’t place your toothbrush in a shared toothbrush holder. When living with one or more people It is pretty common to keep all toothbrushes in the same holder, but this isn’t such a good idea since the germs from one brush can pass to the others which can affect all family members, especially during flu season.
- Replace your toothbrush after having the flu or an infection. This will prevent reinfection and will lower the chances of passing the viruses to the family members. If your toothbrush is new and you don’t want to replace it, don’t forget to disinfect it using one of the methods mentioned before.
- Use a toothpaste dispenser. Using a dispenser on your toothpaste tube prevents cross-contamination since the toothbrushes won’t touch the tip of the toothpaste.
- Finally, never share a toothbrush. Our mouths are full of bacteria and microorganisms, and most of them are harmless to us, but using somebody else’s toothbrush could be bad for your oral health, exposing you to different diseases.
What is a UV toothbrush sanitizer and are they a good investment?
Another option to disinfect your toothbrush is using a UV sanitizer. This device uses a UV light to kill bacteria and germs so you can keep your toothbrush clean after every use, but if you are thinking about getting one of these devices, it is important to know certain things about them.
Even though it has been proved that ultraviolet rays kill bacteria, the American Dental Association hasn’t approved the use of these devices since it is not clear how much light is needed to get rid of the germs in a toothbrush.
Other dental specialists consider that the UV light causes damage to the toothbrush bristles, making them last less than they should, and keeping the toothbrushes in a closed container, it would create even more bacteria.
Knowing this and considering that these UV light sanitizers are expensive, it would be better to use another method for toothbrush disinfection, like the ones we mentioned before.
Know when to replace your toothbrush
Even if you disinfect your toothbrush regularly and follow all the advice to keep it clean, toothbrushes need to be replaced after a certain period of time to guarantee good oral health.
A damaged toothbrush won’t clean your teeth and mouth and remove the plaque as well as a new one would do, so if you see that the bristles start to open up, starts to decolorate, or get too hard, it is definitely time to change it.
The FDA recommends changing your toothbrush every 3 months. The recommendation of our dentists at Dental Solutions Los Algodones is to get a soft bristles toothbrush to avoid damage to your tooth enamel and gums.
Is it better to use a regular toothbrush or an electric one?
Many patients prefer electric toothbrushes over manual ones. It is understandable, with the correct electric toothbrush you can clean your teeth really well. But it depends on the brand and model, as well as the care you put into it.
If you think an electric toothbrush is expensive, you should look around pharmacies in Los Algodones, they got excellent prices for any dental item that you need, including dental floss and mouthwash too!