Ultimate Guide on How to Sanitize a Toothbrush

Properly sanitizing your toothbrush can help keep your teeth and gums healthy by removing any germs that were left behind in the bristles. Cleaning your toothbrush can also remove leftover food particles or old, excess toothpaste that would otherwise get put back into your mouth.

Cleaning your toothbrush after use can also keep viruses and bacteria that cause influenza or the common cold at bay, making it a great line of defense against the winter sniffles. 

How Often Should I Clean or Replace My Toothbrush?

Because a clean toothbrush can help prevent the common cold as well as the flu, you should aim to replace your toothbrush every three months, and clean it at least once a week. Replacing your brush frequently enough is another way of making sure there aren’t too many germs and viruses stored inside of it. 

Some ways to know that it is time to replace your brush are:

  • The bristles are worn out or appear frayed and bent. 
  • Someone in your home is sick. You should get a new toothbrush in this situation to keep yourself healthy, especially if you usually store your toothbrush next to that of the person who is sick. 
  • If you have shared your toothbrush, you should then replace it to avoid introducing someone else’s bacteria into your own mouth. 

You can also keep your toothbrush clean every day by storing it in a hydrogen peroxide solution. Each time you use your toothbrush, switch out the hydrogen peroxide so that your brush can continue to be stored germ-free. 

How Do I Actually Clean My Brush?

Okay, now for the most important part. There are a few ways you can go about cleaning and disinfecting your toothbrush, and all of these methods are fairly easy and affordable. 

  • Run your toothbrush through hot water. Running your toothbrush through hot water before and after you use it is the easiest, most go-to way of cleaning your toothbrush, and it gets rid of bacteria that might have collected on your toothbrush in between brushings. In most cases, this is good enough when it comes to cleaning your toothbrush. 
  • Soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash. If you need more peace of mind than hot water gives you, you can soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash for a more thorough cleaning in between each use. 
  • If you choose this method, you should keep in mind that soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash can result in it wearing out a bit faster, because the ingredients in mouthwash can break down the bristles. 

    To effectively use this method, let your toothbrush sit in a cup of mouthwash, bristles down for about two minutes. Dr. Brite’s Healthy Gums Mouthwash is a great choice for this method, and since it does not contain harmful ingredients sulfates, parabens, or phthalates, it may not be as harsh on the bristles of your toothbrush.

  • Boiling water. A common question is whether you should boil your toothbrush in order to clean it. You can use this method, but you must use great care if you do. The plastic handle on your toothbrush could actually melt if you do this incorrectly, so be mindful of this. 
  • To do this method correctly, you should bring water to a boil and take it off the heat as soon as it starts to boil, then dip your toothbrush bristles down into the water for only 30 seconds.

  • Use denture cleaner. Because denture cleaner is made with antimicrobial formulas, it is effective if you choose to use it as a toothbrush sanitizer. To do this, dip your toothbrush into the cleaner for about 90 seconds. 
  • Use a UV toothbrush sanitizer. Investing in a UV toothbrush sanitizer may be the right choice for you if you want a thorough cleaning that takes a more hands-off approach. In fact, UV toothbrush sanitizing has been shown to be highly effective, and may even be the most effective method overall. 

  • What If I Have An Electric Toothbrush?

    Luckily, if you have an electric toothbrush, not much changes. Generally speaking, you can sanitize an electric toothbrush head the same way you can sanitize a conventional toothbrush, just take care to keep liquid away from any plugs and make sure to disconnect the toothbrush head from the base of the brush before attempting to clean it. 

    It is a good idea to replace your electric toothbrush head with the same frequency that you replace a regular toothbrush -- about every three months. Dr. Brite’s Rejuvenate Sonic Toothbrush features wireless charging and a waterproof design, making brushing and brush-cleaning a breeze. When it comes time to replace the brush head, you can purchase the matching replacement head easily and affordably. 

    How Can I Prevent Germs from Accumulating on My Toothbrush in the First Place?

    There are a few ways you can prevent germs from gathering on your toothbrush in the first place, and most of these methods involve changing the way you store your toothbrush. These methods include:

    • Avoiding side by side storage of toothbrushes, as this can lead to cross-contamination. Toothbrushes should be stored with a few inches in between them, and whenever anyone in the household gets sick you should take care to replace their toothbrush and yours. 
    • Keep toothbrushes as far away from the toilet as possible, as this is the biggest culprit when it comes to germs travelling and landing on your toothbrush. Flushing your toilet with the lid closed will also help keep germs from travelling. 
    • Clean any toothbrush holders or surfaces that your brush comes into contact with by using alcohol wipes or spray. Anything in close proximity to your toothbrush should be kept clean and germ-free so that nothing travels and makes its way into your toothbrush bristles. 
    • Use a toothpaste dispenser instead of swiping toothpaste onto your toothbrush straight from the tube. This will help prevent germs from being transferred from your brush to the tube, or from the tube back to your brush. A toothpaste pump or dispenser can help you avoid cross-contamination. 
    • Help your toothbrush air dry by shaking off excess water after each use. You can also do this by running your thumb across the bristles quickly. This helps keep germs from sitting in the bristles. 
    • Store your toothbrush in a mixture of baking soda and water, as this will keep it clean without damaging it the way hydrogen peroxide or mouthwash might if you leave your brush in for extended periods of time. 
    • Only place a toothbrush cover over the head of your toothbrush when the bristles are dry. A toothbrush cover will prevent airborne germs from landing on your brush, but if you cover a wet toothbrush it is prone to growing mold and mildew. So, dry off those bristles before you cover it up. 
    • Wash your hands before and after touching your toothbrush to avoid transferring germs and bacteria from your hands to your toothbrush, and then your mouth. A good rule is to generally keep your hands clean, or keep them away from your mouth until you get the chance to wash them. 

    Takeaway

    Your toothbrush can easily become full of bacteria and germs from its surroundings, but there are several ways to clean it and keep it clean to keep its maximum brushing and whitening power.

    You should replace your toothbrush every three months, or as soon as you start seeing the bristles wear out. You also clean your toothbrush at least once a week, as a clean toothbrush can help keep you from falling victim to influenza or the common cold. 

    Using hot water, mouthwash, or hydrogen peroxide are all popular ways to sanitize your toothbrush in between uses, but you can also opt for a UV toothbrush sanitizer if you wish. UV toothbrush sanitizers are extremely effective, but not entirely necessary if other methods give you the peace of mind you desire. 

    You can keep your toothbrush from accumulating germs in the first place by storing it far away from your toilet, and with several inches separating it from any other toothbrushes. Toothbrushes should be kept separate so that no cross-contamination occurs, especially if one member of your household is sick. 

    The same methods can be used with electric toothbrushes to ensure that they stay just as clean, and an electric toothbrush head should be replaced just as often as a regular toothbrush. 

    Cleaning and replacing your toothbrush regularly will help keep your gums and teeth healthy, as well as helping you fight off cold and flu season, because you do not want to be putting the same bacteria back into your mouth that your toothbrush originally got rid of which can cause yellowing of your teeth. If this is happening to you be sure to browse our top selling  teeth whitening products here.

    For more tips on all things oral care, check out Dr. Brite’s blog for all the How-To’s you could ever need!

    Sources:

    http://www.dynamicdentalinc.com/blog/bid/79338/Cold-and-Flu-Season-5-Ways-to-Disinfect-Your-Toothbrush

    https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/how-to-clean-toothbrush#when-to-replace-a-toothbrush

    http://www.mycohi.org/pdfs/Project_Clean_Toothbrush_Flyer.pdf

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