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Toothbrushes are made to clean teeth, but how do you keep a toothbrush clean? Can your toothbrush harbor germs? The good news is that there are some things you can do and tools you can use to keep your toothbrush fresher and more sanitary. Here’s how to ensure that the toothbrush you’re using to clean your teeth doesn’t become a breeding ground for things that could make you sick.

How Should I Store My Toothbrush?

How you store your toothbrush can make a big difference in how sanitary it is. Can your toothbrush harbor germs simply from being stored wrong? The answer is yes. Improper storage of a toothbrush can result in the toothbrush staying damp instead of drying out between uses and moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. If you’re storing your toothbrush in a glass or other container, choose an option that allows you to store it with the bristle end of it up to help it dry.

Another important thing to be careful of when storing your toothbrush between uses is to be sure to store your toothbrush separately from other family members or roommates’ toothbrushes. If there’s any chance of toothbrushes touching each other, they can share germs, which can spread illness and infection quickly throughout a household.

How Can I Clean My Toothbrush?

So now you’ve found the answer to your question: “Can your toothbrush harbor germs?” Your next question is probably “How can I keep it clean?”

To keep your toothbrush clean, one of the first steps you can take is to rinse it thoroughly under hot water after each use. Your mouth naturally contains millions of germs and is the number one source of contamination for your toothbrush, so it’s important to rinse it well before storing it every single time.

You may still be concerned, for example if you drop your toothbrush, can your toothbrush still harbor germs after proper rinsing? If you’d like to take things a step further and disinfect it, you can also soak the toothbrush in a mouthwash that contains alcohol or use 3% hydrogen peroxide. Make sure to only soak it for up to 15 minutes, though, as longer may damage the bristles of your toothbrush.

When Is It Time to Replace My Toothbrush?

Even with proper care of your toothbrush, dentists recommend replacing a toothbrush every 3-4 months and after you’ve been sick with a contagious illness or infection. So if you’ve had your toothbrush for longer, or simply can’t remember the last time you replaced it, it’s a great time to start fresh. Studies show that a new toothbrush cleans better than an old one, so keeping a fresh toothbrush is always a great idea.

Call our Streamwood Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.