Keeping your Toothbrush Safe from Germs

BathroomGerms. They’re everywhere. If we really thought about how prevalent germ infestation is in the world, we’d probably all want to reside in a safe bubble. Your toothbrush is one place where germs like to congregate. At any given moment, various yeasts, Staphylococci, intestinal bacteria and even fecal germs might be found on the bristles or handle of your oral hygiene instrument. How can you deal with something so disgusting and disturbing and still keep your mouth clean and healthy? Proper toothbrush storage and care are a good place to start.

Don’t Store your Toothbrush Near the Toilet

Maria L. Geisinger, DDS is the assistant professor of periodontology in the School of Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She says, “The oral cavity is home to hundreds of different types of microorganisms, which can be transferred to a toothbrush during use.” Because most toothbrushes, Geisinger further points out, are stored in the bathroom, gastrointestinal microorganisms are likely to make their way to your toothbrush if you don’t store it in the right way and the right place. Since bacteria can transfer about ten feet when the toilet is flushed, if your toothbrush is within that limit, it might make a perfect landing spot for certain bacteria.

Preventive Measures

It’s not just used toothbrushes which cause concern. Toothbrush manufacturers are not required to package their products in a sterile manner or environment. Dr. Geisinger notes, “You should thoroughly rinse toothbrushes with potable tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Additionally, soaking toothbrushes in an antibacterial mouth rinse has been shown to decrease the level of bacteria that grow on toothbrushes.” You can also improve matters by keeping your toothbrush in a closed, dry container and not storing toothbrushes which belong to different people too close to each other. Otherwise, cross-contamination is a concern. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or as soon as the bristles are worn out or frayed.

About Your Southlake Dentists

A native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. Together, he and Dr. Victoria Heron proudly provide exceptional family, general, and cosmetic dental care to families and patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our Southlake children’s dentist office at (817) 481-7999.