Sanitizing Your Toothbrush

How To Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

Much of the teeth and gum care practices described in this website involves controlling the bacterial population of the mouth. While you clean your mouth, some bacteria transfer to your toothbrush or interdental cleaning device where they can live in the moist environment between the bristles and in the crevices. Later when you re-use your brush or interdental cleaner, some of the bacteria can move back into your mouth.

Some researchers believe that the duration of a cold can be lengthened by the twice-daily reintroduction of cold germs, even though the immune system has been at work weakening and eradicating the germs within the body between brushings. Sharing a toothbrush is a commonly recognized method of transferring strains of bacteria from one person to another.

Reducing the bacteria after each use and periodically eliminating them from your cleaning implements will keep them from undermining your progress. After each use, rinse your toothbrush and interdental cleaning device thoroughly to rinse off bacteria. Flick off the excess moisture and place the brush or interdental device where they can thoroughly air dry without coming into contact with the brushes and devices of others. Most of the remaining bacteria will have a hard time surviving and multiplying without moisture. Don’t put a cover over the brush head and don’t put the brush in a closed container, as these will keep the bristles moist.

Every week, change the bristles on your interdental cleaning device. These devices typically come with removable brushes that unclip or snap off, so that a new brush can be mounted.

Once a week, soak your toothbrush (or electric-toothbrush head) in a solution of hydrogen peroxide (3% in 97% water). It is inexpensive and you can buy it at any pharmacy or most grocery stores. An easy way to do this is to pour fresh hydrogen peroxide into an empty, wide-mouth, plastic pill bottler and then place your brush head in the bottle. After at least five minutes, rinse the toothbrush thoroughly in water to eliminate the hydrogen peroxide taste, flick off the excess moisture and place the brush where it can thoroughly air dry without coming into contact with other brushes and devices. Pour the hydrogen peroxide down the drain, where it will safely break down into water and oxygen, neither of which is a pollutant. Refill the little pill bottle with a fresh pour for each use because hydrogen peroxide breaks down quickly when exposed to light and it won’t last long.

If you are sick, soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide (3%) after each use. Also soak your interdental cleaning device, but only for about two to three minutes as their brushes are not as sturdy as toothbrushes. Rinse thoroughly in water, flick off the excess moisture and let dry.

These practices on how to keep your toothbrush clean will control the bacteria populations on your teeth-cleaning implements.



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