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By Michael D. Holesh, DDS & Brent Meekins, DDS
September 20, 2018
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The Filthy Truth About Your Toothbrush

You know that the best way to take care of your teeth and gums is by brushing every day. But do you know how to best take care of your toothbrush? Believe it or not, your toothbrush may not be all that clean and could be home to millions of bacteria and germs. 
 
How you store your toothbrush can play a big role in how clean it stays. After brushing, you should rinse the brush in tap water to remove toothpaste and debris. Store the toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air dry after every use.  If multiple brushes are stored in the same area, keep the brushes separated to avoid illness from being passed between brushes. 
 
Generally speaking, the human body is able to defend itself from bacteria and prevent infections. You should, however, still exercise some basic common sense when caring for your toothbrush. 
 
To keep your toothbrush as germ-free as possible, follow these simple tips. 
 
  • Every 3-4 months- The American Dental Association recommends replacing your old toothbrush about every three months, or sooner, if the bristles start to bend or fray.  
  • Following illness- If you’ve had the cold or flu, you may also want to buy a new toothbrush. Germs and bacteria can hide out in the bristles, which may lead to reinfection. 
  • Avoid sharing toothbrushes- Because microorganisms can be passed between users, sharing a toothbrush should be avoided to prevent the risk of cross-contamination. 
  • Don’t cover toothbrush- Moist environments are breeding grounds for bacteria. Store your toothbrush upright in the open air instead. 
 
Brushing is the best way to keep your mouth clean and your teeth healthy—but not if your toothbrush is in bad condition. If you ever have any doubts about the shape of your toothbrush, simply throw it out and get a new one.