Because of COVID-19, people all over the world are taking hygiene a whole lot more seriously than ever before. People are deep cleaning everything around their house. However, what many people fail to disinfect on a regular basis is their toothbrush. The bristles of your toothbrush are exposed to the bacteria and food particles on your teeth twice a day (or, at least, they should be), so they can quickly become a breeding ground for germs, including the coronavirus. That’s why, in today’s blog post, we’re going over how to thoroughly disinfect your toothbrush.
Caring for Your Toothbrush
Microorganisms from your mouth and the toothbrush’s environment can grow on the bristles even after you brush. The American Dental Association recommends rinsing the bristles off with hot water after you’re finished brushing to kill off any germs. Once the brush is clean, store it in its own toothbrush holder. Otherwise, it could harbor germs from other brushes. Don’t store your brush in a closed container since those are hard to keep sterile. Lastly, replace your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if you have been sick or the bristles appear frayed or worn down.
Disinfecting Toothbrush Bristles
At least once a week, you should engage in one of the following practices to deep clean your toothbrush:
- Swirl the bristles in an antibacterial mouthwash for 30 seconds
- Soak the bristles in vinegar overnight
- Dissolve two teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of water and soak the brush in the mixture
- Dilute one teaspoon of 3% strength hydrogen peroxide in a cup of water and swirl the toothbrush bristles in that before brushing
- Dissolve a denture or retainer cleaning tablet per the instructions on the label and soak the brush bristles in the solution
It’s worth noting that you should never soak a toothbrush in mouthwash for longer than 15 minutes, and that shouldn’t reuse said mouthwash for rinsing out your mouth. It’s also not recommended to run your toothbrush through a microwave of dishwasher. The heat could warp the plastic on the brush and damage the bristles.
After you’ve been sick, whether it’s with the coronavirus or some other infection, you should throw out your toothbrush and get another one. If you don’t, then germs present on the bristles could infect you all over again.
Keeping your toothbrush clean takes only a few minutes once a week. It’s definitely worth the effort to prevent the spread of germs and keep you healthy.
About the Author
Dr. Neil Flenniken is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and an Associate Fellow with the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He also has almost 20 years of experience in the dental field under his belt. Although his practice is currently closed for all non-emergency patients, he can still be contacted at (717) 249-7777.