While toothbrushes are designed to remove plaque and promote oral hygiene, they can also be filled with harmful microbes. This is especially true if you have been using them for more than three months. The truth is, microorganisms present in the environment where the toothbrush is stored can establish themselves on the bristles.
Research has shown that different microorganisms can grow on toothbrushes. While there is no enough evidence to show that the bacteria on a toothbrush can result in adverse health effects, it is still important to clean, store, and replace them as needed.
KidzSmile Dentistry‘s pediatric dentist in Louisville shared a few care recommendations for your toothbrush.
Rinse it Thoroughly
After brushing, thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with water to remove remaining debris or toothpaste. Be sure to store them in an upright position and allow them to air-dry. If you use a toothbrush holder (shared with other family members), it is best to keep the brushes separated to avoid cross-contamination.
Store and Clean Properly
It is not advisable to routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in a closed container. Note that a moist environment (like in closed containers) can promote the growth of microorganisms. When cleaning them, however, avoid putting the brushes in the dishwasher or microwave oven. These methods could only damage the brush and may reduce their effectiveness.
Replace Every Three Months
When the bristles become worn and frayed, their cleaning effectiveness will also decrease. Keep in mind that toothbrushes have a lifespan and will wear out depending on different factors. It is best to replace them every three months or sooner if the bristles are worn out. Children’s toothbrushes need more frequent replacement than adult’s brushes.
Avoid Infection (or Re-infection)
For individuals susceptible to infection, replacing the toothbrush more often than every three months is important. This is especially true if you or a family member has a systemic disease that can be transferred through blood or saliva. This is also applicable for those with a weak immune system or low resistance due to disease or cancer treatment.
Don’t let your toothbrush be a home to harmful microorganisms. Learn how to store, clean, and replace them as needed for healthier teeth and mouth.