Your toothbrush is one of the most important tools you have to keep your teeth and gums healthy. So, shouldn’t you be concerned about how you are keeping it in the best condition possible?
The first consideration for keeping your toothbrush in top shape is how it is stored. Never store it where it cannot air out and dry completely between uses. This includes a case or in a medicine cabinet. These types of environments can foster the growth of bacteria and even mold or mildew. Toothbrush holders that keep the toothbrush upright and provide for a good amount of air circulation are ideal, as long as they don’t allow toothbrushes to comingle. Just as you would not share a toothbrush with someone, you wouldn’t want them to transfer germs from one to another.
Rinsing your toothbrush after each use is also a step you do not want to skip. This removes food particles, toothpaste, and bacteria that may have accumulated on there during your brushing. You needn’t use a special water or disinfectant for this. Just tap water will do. Placing it in the dishwasher is also unnecessary, and could damage the bristles. Simply rinsing it and placing it in a good place to air dry is enough.
The last thing to do is make sure that you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Do not wait until the bristles are worn or discolored. This is well past its useful life. Keeping a spare toothbrush handy at all times is a good idea so that you can change it out regularly. Replacing it more frequently may be necessary if the bristles are frayed, if someone else has used it, or if you have had recent gum disease or a cavity filled. The last thing you want to do is spread bacteria.
In following these simple but important steps, your toothbrush will serve its purpose well.