Actually, there are more germs on that toothbrush than you think. Researchers at England’s University of Manchester found that one uncovered toothbrush can contain more than 100 million bacteria. This includes E. coli bacteria.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that your toothbrush is going to make you deathly ill. As a family dentist I can say that in most healthy people, the body’s natural defense mechanisms will guard against contracting an infection simply due to brushing your teeth. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) states that “there is insufficient clinical evidence to support that bacterial growth on toothbrushes will lead to specific adverse oral or systemic health effects.”
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be conscious of how we clean and store our toothbrushes. For starters, try to keep your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible. A toilet flush will spray bacteria into the air. Thus, it’s best to keep an open toothbrush away from the spray.
Also, thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use and store in an upright position to facilitate proper drying. Keeping a toothbrush dry inhibits bacteria growth. On this note, don’t make a practice out of using any sort of toothbrush covers or storage containers, because they create a moist environment that could breed bacteria.
In addition, remember that your toothbrush is exactly that – yours. Do not share your toothbrush, even with your closest relatives or best friend. In this vein, according to WebMD it’s a good idea to not even store your toothbrush in the same container with other toothbrushes, because if they touch they could exchange germs.
Finally, make sure you always have a fresh toothbrush, because as your toothbrush becomes older and more worn out the cleaning effectiveness will decrease. According to the ADA, a good rule of thumb is to replace toothbrushes every three to four months.
If you need advice on which toothbrush may be the best for you, check with your family dentist. Here in the Columbus and Reynoldsburg areas, we are available to advise you on toothbrushes and all of your other dental care needs. So if you need a family dentist, check us out! Visit us on Facebook to learn more about us.