Your mouth is full of germs and bacteria. So is your environment. That’s why you should know how to keep your toothbrushes sanitary.
- Select the right tool – soft, medium, hard; manual, electric, sonic; conventional shape, or a design inspired by the Starship Enterprise. Your dentist can suggest the style that’s right for your teeth, dexterity, and lifestyle.
- Never share your toothbrush. That’s more intimate than kissing because your toothbrush goes under your gums. Stock up, with one on hand for each person in the house and extras for guests.
- Carry a spare in your purse or car, stored in a plastic case, so you won’t be tempted to borrow if you get stranded. If you travel, lay your brush on a clean tissue or hand towel. Hotel surfaces are less than sanitary. Remember to clean and dry your brush when you return home.
- Store toothbrushes upright, in a container open to the air so they dry between uses. If you brush frequently, have several and switch off. Ideally, use a separate holder for each person in the household. If space necessitates one vessel, don’t over-crowd. Try the type with holes to keep toothbrushes separated. Make sure the container is as far as possible from the toilet. Fecal coliform bacteria in the water can spray a long way from the bowl. Don’t store toothbrushes in a drawer or cabinet – microorganisms love dark places.
- Wash your hands before you brush. Wash your brush by rubbing it gently with your clean thumb under warm running water, before and after use. Use toothpaste when you brush. Occasionally swish your brush in a paper cupful of anti-bacterial mouth rinse.
- Disinfect your brush monthly in the top rack of dishwasher. The heat and bleach in the dishwasher detergent will sanitize it. You may want to invest in a commercial toothbrush sanitizer, instead.
- No matter what kind of toothbrush you use, replace it every three-to-four months.
Your toothbrush is a valuable dental instrument. Make sure it works for the health of your mouth!