Since you should be brushing at least twice a day, your toothbrush is an important component next to floss and mouthwash when it comes to your oral hygiene regimen. It therefore makes sense that you should store it in a sanitary manner. Ask yourself if the following narrative aligns with your brushing habits: You walk into the bathroom, open the cabinet door, take your toothbrush out, brush your teeth, and immediately lay it flat on the shelf again before closing the cabinet door.
If this sounds like you, you are basically storing your brush in a dark, wet, and protected bacterial breeding ground. Read on to learn how to store your toothbrush the right way and why it’s important.
Shake It Off
If you put your toothbrush back in its storage space immediately after you finish brushing, then you are not doing anything to clean it. You should rinse the bristles thoroughly before vigorously shaking excess water from the appliance. This will get rid of clinging food particles and help keep the brush dry.
Let’s Get Everything Out in the Open
Why shouldn’t you keep your toothbrush in the cabinet or drawer to keep it clean? Because a dark enclosed space like that provides a breeding ground for bacteria. You should keep your toothbrush out in the open or in its own individual holder where it can be exposed to light and air currents. While helping to dry the appliance off, this will help prevent the growth of bacteria.
A Toothbrush Should Stand Up Straight
Laying the toothbrush flat prevents the toothbrush from drying by limiting its exposure to air. This allows the water still hanging on it to pool upon and around it, which provides a great environment for growing bacteria. By positioning your toothbrush upright, you maximize evaporation by exposing the most surface area while gravity does the work of draining the excess water away. Toothbrush holders designed to hold these appliances upright can be found at stores everywhere.
Keep Your Toothbrush Away from Germ Hotspots
Even if your toothbrush is rinsed, standing upright, and drying out in the open, it still needs a clean environment. The first rule here is to make sure it isn’t touching other toothbrushes stored near it so they can’t share germs. Germ accumulation over time is inevitable, so your toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months.
When you flush the toilet, the force of the moving water can send microbes flying somewhere between three and six feet into the air. Accordingly, you should store your toothbrush farther from the toilet than that. If you need extra space, you can use a wall-mounted holder. Another good tip to keep toilet germs from flying all over your bathroom is to close the lid before you flush.
It doesn’t make sense to clean something with dirty tools. If you store your toothbrush in the cabinet because you worry that openly displaying your dental appliance will clash with your décor, it might be best to get a more visually appealing toothbrush. Now that you know the proper way to store your toothbrush, doing so will help keep your mouth healthy and your hygiene effective.
About the Author
Dr. Craig R. Harder earned his doctorate at Creighton University and has completed hundreds of hours of continued education mostly focused on esthetics and minor orthodontics. He has served patients with high-quality dental services for over twenty years. His practice provides oral care including general, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry in addition to orthodontics. If you want to know more about good toothbrush hygiene, contact him online or dial (509) 765-4351.