How to Disinfect Your Toothbrush for Longterm Use
Published: July 31, 2022
Achieve a fresh-from-the-dentist clean when you know how to disinfect a toothbrush. Follow the tips here to never use a nasty toothbrush again.
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Home to millions of germs and bacteria, the mouth is one of the dirtiest parts of your body. Scientists even say that more than 615 types of bacteria can live and multiply in millions every day. While most bacteria promote gum and teeth health, others wreak havoc by promoting diseases and dental concerns. It becomes a problem when the balance is tipped for the worse.
While frequent flossing and brushing can aid in the delicate balance of the good and bad, you can go the extra mile by knowing how to disinfect your toothbrush.
Why It’s Important to Clean and Disinfect Your Toothbrush
A toothbrush is essential for cleaning your pearly whites, tongue, and gums. Though a single toothbrush can do a lot, it can harbor bacteria from your mouth if not properly cleaned and disinfected. Knowing that toothbrushes remove food stuck between teeth, plaque buildup, and bacteria, we can only imagine how much horror it goes through in a single session.
Undoubtedly, rinsing alone is not enough to remove all the gunk hiding in the bristles. This is why taking the extra step to know how to disinfect your toothbrush can help you keep a nasty toothbrush out of your mouth. After all, what good is brushing your teeth if your toothbrush is dirty?
External factors like dirty hands and moist environments can spread several strains of bacteria and viruses that cause colds and influenza. Your hands have been in places enough to gather germs that are harmful and cause cases of flu and infections. So, washing your hands can reduce the transmission to your toothbrush.
Bathrooms are also filled with moisture. Germs and bacteria thrive in places like bathrooms because they’re dark and damp — providing essential conditions for the growth and survival of germs. Worse, flushing toilets with the lid open can cause potential health risks.
Have you heard about toilet plumes? Scientist Philip Tierno revealed in his studies that the swirling water from the toilet can shoot aerosolized feces into the air. The bacteria can land on nearby surfaces and even live for months. Hence, it’s not a good idea to leave your toothbrush in storage over the toilet or just out in the open.
How to Clean a Toothbrush
Over the years, people have created ingenious ways to clean and disinfect a toothbrush. Some soak their toothbrush in mouthwash or denture cleaner solutions, while others even let it spend hours in the dishwasher to get squeaky clean. If you have the budget, you can also invest a lot of money in fancy ultraviolet toothbrush sanitizers. But do these cleaning and disinfecting methods work?
Yes, they do. But, you don’t need expensive equipment and time-consuming methods to keep your toothbrush clean and in tip-top shape. If done correctly, these simple hacks with things you can find at home work like a charm.
Things You’ll Need:
If you’re surfing the internet for ways how to disinfect a toothbrush, you’d probably come across the hot water method. Now you should know that hot water alone cannot thoroughly disinfect your toothbrush. While it gets rid of nestled dirt between bristles and growing bacteria, it won’t be able to kill potent viruses. That’s why they’re only great for cleaning and not killing all surface microorganisms.
If you’re still keen on doing this cleaning method, boil some hot water and prepare a glass or heat-resistant container. Pour the water into the container and let your toothbrush soak for 15 minutes. After that, you can rinse it with tap water, and it’s ready for use. Another great reason people use hot water is that it straightens bent and frayed bristles. This makes the toothbrush look new and clean simultaneously.
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Baking soda is another way to delicately and naturally clean your toothbrush. Indeed, baking soda has done many wonders in cooking and cleaning. It’s also a household staple when removing tough stains and foul odors. If you want this for your toothbrush, just mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Soak your toothbrush for 15 minutes and rinse well after. You might want to momentarily tap the toothbrush on the faucet to eliminate any gritty residue.
But don’t worry about the small traces of baking soda as they’re even used as home remedies for teeth whitening. Maybe prepare another soda mixture since you’ve just used the first one to clean your toothbrush. While old research proves that baking soda has antibacterial properties, it can’t fully clear out strong germs and viruses. This is why they’re only reserved for cleaning and not disinfecting a toothbrush.
How to Disinfect a Toothbrush
To disinfect a toothbrush means to clear out any traces of disease-causing germs and viruses. Unlike cleaning a toothbrush, no microorganisms, good and bad, can be found once it’s disinfected or sterilized.
Though it’s unnecessary to disinfect a toothbrush every day, knowing that your mouth is safe from the potty germs roaming in your bathroom can be comforting. Peek these suggestions on how to disinfect a toothbrush for a more profound clean.
Things You’ll Need:
Most people use a mouthwash to fight bad breath and tooth decay, but do you know that you can also use it for disinfecting your toothbrush? A mouthwash can easily be found in anyone’s bathroom storage cabinet because it’s a tandem that most dentists swear by. Hence, it’s the most accessible out of all the items on this list.
To use this, you can follow the instructions of the hot water method. Use a container and pour enough mouthwash to cover the entire bristle area. Soak the toothbrush for a couple of minutes and rinse before using it. The best thing about this method is that it leaves your toothbrush smelling minty fresh!
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Hydrogen peroxide is widely used for cleaning and disinfecting wounds. Today, you’ll learn how to clean and disinfect toothbrushes using this mild antiseptic!
Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide can reduce bacteria by up to 87 percent. Using a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution, you can effectively and affordably disinfect a toothbrush. All you need to do is grab a container and fill it with enough hydrogen peroxide to cover the bristles. When you’re ready to brush your teeth, give it a good rinse and tap. You can keep it in the solution as long as you want, but replace it daily for the best results.
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You may have seen people use these solutions for cleaning and disinfecting dentures. Luckily, you can also use them for your toothbrush! Unlike the other solutions mentioned on this list, effervescent denture cleaners fizz up when placed in water. The foaming helps loosen food particles and dirt trapped between bristles, while the antibacterial properties kill any present germs.
Just dissolve half a tablet in a container and let your toothbrush soak for a minute or more. Remember to rinse thoroughly, as most denture cleaners contain harmful chemicals that can induce vomiting, diarrhea, and burns in your stomach.
UV Toothbrush Sanitizer
Things You’ll Need:
Ultraviolet (UV) sanitizers are not only proven reliable by hospitals and laboratories, but they’re also compact and convenient to use daily. Aside from that, they reduce bacteria on toothbrushes by 77 percent.
Even though they’re not cheap alternatives, UV light is said to be more effective than saline and antiseptic mouthwash. Hence, making it worth the investment. Above all, it comes in an array of choices in functionality and size to fit your bathroom and germ-killing needs. But, it’s still worth noting the opinion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They shared that UV light sanitizers are unnecessary at home since most UV sanitizer products are fake. You can get the same germicidal capabilities by using mouthwash and other antiseptic solutions. But with the right one, it sure does make one’s life healthier and more effortless.
Tips To Keep Your Toothbrush Clean and Bacteria-Free
If you think your toothbrush only needs a good soak to keep it clean, you might want to add some healthy practices to keep it bacteria-free. It takes good habits to keep your toothbrush clean and your mouth safe from dental problems and life-threatening diseases. To achieve this, follow these simple steps toward good oral hygiene.
Rinse Thoroughly Before and After Using
It’s not just about excess bubbles from toothpaste because rinsing removes trapped food particles and bacteria from your mouth. An unrinsed toothbrush may reintroduce leftover plaque and newly accumulated germs to your mouth. So, always rinse your brush before and after using it to minimize harmful effects.
Dry It Completely
The cross-contamination in areas like bathrooms and toilets is very high, thanks to its increased humidity. Bacteria and mold often thrive fast when environmental factors are aligned in their favor. To avoid this, always give your toothbrushes a good shake. You can tap the neck on the faucet or even run your thumb across the bristles to shake off the water. Also, it’s best to store your toothbrush upright and let it air dry.
Use Proper Storage
Studies have found that toothbrushes stored in closed containers like toothbrush covers have more bacteria than air-dried ones. Closed containers are hard to keep sterile since bacterial growth isn’t disturbed by flowing air. If you must use toothbrush covers, always make it a habit to clean them. Do this while your toothbrush air dries to prevent moisture buildup.
Aside from that, don’t store your oral care products near toilet seats. As mentioned, toilet plumes can carry nasty bacteria several meters toward anything near them. You can also keep them inside dry cabinets when you have a small bathroom.
Avoid Storing Toothbrushes Together
Even if you’re properly storing your toothbrush, storing them together won’t do any good. This is a common mistake most families make due to a lack of available individual space. As a tip, buying a toothbrush holder and toothpaste dispenser can do the trick. Most toothbrush holders are wall-mounted. This lets you utilize empty wall space for additional storage while limiting cross-contamination from one toothbrush to the other.
Don’t Share Your Toothbrush
If toothbrushes are not allowed to be close together, then sharing your toothbrush even with a family member is prohibited. The natural bacterial flora of your cavity is like a thumbprint; it’s different from the rest of the population. Even when you share the same food with your parents or siblings, the bacterial makeup can clash, resulting in a dangerous imbalance of bacteria.
Replace Toothbrush After Getting Sick
Throw away your toothbrush the moment you show symptoms of flu, fungal, yeast, or any viral infections. This is a great way to ensure that there are no traces of lingering bacteria. Any present germs in your toothbrush can reinfect you or be passed on to other family members. Pitching a single toothbrush away will save you and your family from extended checkups and hospital bills.
Replace Toothbrush Regularly
Replacing your towels when they’re dirty should be no different from replacing toothbrushes when they’re all worn out. The lifespan of a toothbrush should be around 3 to 4 months. If wears are already visible in the second month, replace it immediately as it’s no longer effective in cleaning your teeth. Be on the lookout for discoloration and frayed bristles, too, as these are obvious indicators that it’s time to buy a new one. Besides, sterilizing your toothbrush way past its lifespan wouldn’t do anything good because its cleaning capabilities are already useless.
You clean your teeth probably every day, so it’s essential to keep your toothbrushes clean, too! With these tips, you’ll know how to disinfect your toothbrush at home or while traveling. Besides, your mouth can only be as clean as the toothbrush you clean with it.
On the other hand, check these space-saving bathroom storage towers if you don’t have any available counter space to store your toothbrush. These will instantly give you enough storage options and free up crowded areas stylishly.