Most people know how important it is to replace toothbrushes every few months, but many overlook the importance of cleaning or disinfecting toothbrushes. Our mouths contain tiny organisms that can cause illness or infections, so when we brush our teeth, these organisms can linger on our toothbrushes if we fail to properly clean them. If you’re wondering how to clean your toothbrush, the following guidelines will teach you simple ways to disinfect both electric and manual toothbrushes.
How Often Should I Clean My Toothbrush?
The National Dental Association recommends cleaning your toothbrush once every week, if not more. Cleaning your toothbrush will keep strains of viruses and bacteria from re-entering your mouth the next time you brush. This is why it’s especially important to disinfect toothbrushes when you’re sick with the cold or flu.
How Do I Clean a Toothbrush?
If you’re looking for the best way to keep a toothbrush clean, you’ll undoubtedly come across a variety of solutions online. Ultimately, it comes down to finding your ideal method or what is most convenient for you. The following ideas are both easy and effective at killing germs that can spread bacteria and illness.
How to Clean a Manual Toothbrush
- Soak in Mouthwash. Soaking your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash is an easy and effective way to get it clean. Simply fill a cup with mouthwash and submerge your toothbrush in the solution, head down. Allow it to soak for at least four hours and rinse the brush thoroughly before using.
- Vinegar Soak. Using white distilled vinegar is one of the best ways to clean a toothbrush without using specialty cleaners. Place your toothbrush head down into a cup filled with white distilled vinegar and let it soak for at least eight hours. Rinse well.
- Boil It. If you need to sanitize your toothbrush and are also on a time crunch, boiling it could be your best option. Simply boil water in a pot on the stove and then soak your toothbrush in the water for just 10 minutes. Occasionally stir the toothbrush around with a spoon to ensure your entire toothbrush gets clean.
- Use Hydrogen Peroxide. If you have hydrogen peroxide on hand, it may be your key to a clean toothbrush. Allow your toothbrush to soak in a cup of hydrogen peroxide (head down) for six hours for maximum sanitation benefits.
- Use UV Sanitizer. UV toothbrush sanitizers are a great option for cleaning and disinfecting toothbrushes. UV sanitation is used in hospitals, doctors offices, and even laboratories to kill microorganisms. It is extremely effective, but if you don’t want to spend money on a UV sanitizer, rest assured that the other options above also work as effectively, if not more.
How to Clean an Electric Toothbrush Head
- Use a Bleach Solution. Each month, soak your toothbrush head in bleach and water (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) for one hour. Once it is finished soaking, be sure to rinse your toothbrush head thoroughly to get rid of excess bleach.
- Soak in Mouthwash. Antibacterial mouthwash can also be quite effective at cleaning and disinfecting toothbrush heads. Once a week, simply place your toothbrush head in mouthwash and let it soak for four hours. Rinse thoroughly before use.
- Use a UV Sanitizer. Some electric toothbrushes come with UV sanitizers built in, but if yours doesn’t, bleach or mouthwash are also very effective solutions for cleaning electric toothbrush heads.
Daily Toothbrush Maintenance Tips
While cleaning your toothbrush can help keep your smile at its healthiest, it’s important to also consider incorporating the following steps into your oral hygiene routine for optimal oral health.
- After brushing, always rinse your toothbrush or toothbrush head under tap water to remove food particles and leftover toothpaste. Massage the bristles with your fingers for a more thorough rinse.
- Never store your toothbrush or brush head in a closed container as this can cause bacteria to grow on your toothbrush.
- Leave your toothbrush or brush head to air dry in an upright position after each use.
- Brush gently. Brushing too hard can cause bristles to wear out and lose their effectiveness sooner.
How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
Cleaning toothbrushes may keep unwanted germs away, but replacing your toothbrush or toothbrush head is also important. Manual toothbrushes should be replaced every few months, and electric toothbrush heads should be replaced every few months, as well. If you notice wear on your bristles before the three-month mark, however, you will want to go ahead and switch out your toothbrush or head sooner.
Replacing and cleaning your toothbrush can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. But to keep your mouth at its healthiest, you should also see your dentist for regular teeth cleanings and exams. Not only will you get a deeper clean, you will also receive a new toothbrush at your appointment. Contact our Columbus dentists at Capstone Clintonville today to schedule an exam.