Because one of the main purposes of a toothbrush is to remove bacteria from your mouth, it’s important to keep your toothbrush sanitary and free of bacteria.
Keep these tips in mind to keep your toothbrush clean and safe:
- Keep it covered on the road, but not at home. When you travel, put your toothbrush in a travel toothbrush holder-don’t let it roll around uncovered in your suitcase or toiletry bag where it can pick up dust, dirt, and bacteria. But don’t store a toothbrush in a toothbrush holder at home-the chronically moist environment can promote bacteria growth. If you must use a covered toothbrush holder frequently, look for one with small holes to let air in. When at home, store your toothbrush upright in a cup or a toothbrush holder that allows it to air dry and has several openings to keep multiple toothbrushes separate.
- Replace it when you’re sick. Even if you just bought a new toothbrush or changed the head on your rechargeable electric brush, it’s a good idea to replace it when you have recovered from an illness to avoid exposing yourself to more of the bacteria that your body has just defeated.
- Consider a sanitizer. There are commercially available "toothbrush sanitizers," but there’s no solid evidence to suggest that they actually keep toothbrushes cleaner than simply rinsing them with water after use and allowing them to dry. If you want to try a sanitizer, look for one that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for "reducing bacterial contamination that occurs naturally on toothbrushes." Be suspicious of sanitizing products that make unrealistic claims. And never try to clean your toothbrush by putting it in the dishwasher or microwave; the high temperatures can damage the brush.