A toothbrush is our tool to keep our teeth clean and our breath fresh but, did you know, they can harbor bacteria that grow and diversify over time? The main recommendation has always been to change to a new toothbrush every six months mainly because the toothbrush bristles eventually lose their ability to clean your teeth gently and effectively. New research says that your handy toothbrush may be a haven for bacteria and other microorganisms. Not only do they harbor the bacteria but they can also transfer them to your loved ones with each use.
Tips To Keep ToothBrush As Clean As Possible
-Leave Brush Out In Open – This allows your toothbrush to air dry. Bacteria generally thrive and flourish in cool, humid, and dark places. This describes most bathrooms. Studies have shown that toothbrushes kept in a humid, dark environment retained almost 50% of the Herpes Simplex Virus (type 1) for almost a week. Further studies have shown that placing a toothbrush too close to the toilet bowl can introduce new types of bacteria every time you flush. Water particles are launched up to a 6 foot radius surrounding the toilet possibly contaminating your toothbrush and other bathroom items in the process.
Helpful Tip: Do not keep toothbrushes stored away inside your dark medicine cabinet. Consider leaving your toothbrush in a place with dry, well lit area like a nightstand.
-Change Brush Earlier If Possible – Replacing your brush more frequently to ward off progressive bacteria growths. The American Dental Association now recommends changing out your toothbrush every 2-3 months. A good tip might be to buy 12 new toothbrushes at the start of the year and replace the old one at the start of every new month. This makes it easy to remember and keeps your toothbrushes from becoming biology experiments.
Helpful Tip: Select toothbrushes with translucent bristles. Research has shown that these brush heads contain 50% less bacteria than the colored ones. It might be also helpful to use an anti bacterial mouth rinse to protect your mouth and also to rinse your toothbrush in after brushing to keep the numbers of bacteria down to a minimum.
-Nuke Your ToothBrush? – Some studies have advocated microwaving your manual toothbrushes (do not try this with an electric toothbrush!). This technique may eliminate several forms of bacteria and viruses that can form on tooth brush heads. This is an out of the box tip and has not been endorsed by anyone. People have been microwaving pacifiers for years to sterilize them. Just be careful not to ruin the integrity of the toothbrush in the process.
Helpful Tip: Never microwave a toothbrush with metal parts!
-UV (Ultraviolet Light) Sanitizers- There are many highly effective sanitizers which utilize UV light to kill up to 99 % of toothbrush germs. This is especially helpful when a family member is sick and there is a stronger need to protect from cross contamination onto other toothbrushes.
Toothbrush maintenance and cleanliness is an often overlooked part of our oral hygiene regimen. We must remember how much bacteria we carry in our mouths on a daily basis. We certainly do not want to introduce any new germs to the mix that might be growing on our toothbrushes. Change a few habits and add some simple steps to help you and your family stay happy and healthy for many years to come.