White teeth and healthy pink gums manifest good oral health, and regular brushing is critical to keeping your oral health in check. But what many people don’t know is that the toothbrush they are using to clean their pearly whites also requires cleaning.
Your toothbrush deals with germs and plaque every day. As a result, it gets contaminated with bacteria, food particles, and even blood that gets stuck at the bristles’ base over time.
I know you are brushing twice a day to get that million-dollar smile, but what if I told you that you might be causing harm in your pursuit of improvement.
- 1 How To Keep Your Toothbrush Clean
- 2 Do Not Do This
- 3 Cleaning Your Toothbrush
- 4 How To Clean Manual And Electric Toothbrush Head
- 5 How To Clean Electric Toothbrush Handle
- 6 How To Clean Electric Toothbrush Base
- 7 Summary
How To Keep Your Toothbrush Clean
The bacteria residing in your mouth in the form of a sticky yellowish substance called plaque gets stuck to the toothbrush, making it unhealthy to clean the teeth.
But can you be sure that the new brush you picked up in your local Walgreens is not already contaminated? The brand new toothbrush you just bought is not sterile and already may have germs.
Apart from this, the ADA also quotes that there is no evidence to prove that the bacteria present on your brush will undoubtedly have adverse effects on your health.
But we all know that ‘prevention is better than cure,’ so it won’t be a stretch to realize that changing your brush frequently is still a wise move.
Here are the basics of cleaning and storing that will help you have your oral care tools bacteria-free:
- Rinse it – it is the easiest and oldest method to keep your brush clean from any remaining toothpaste or debris.
- Store it upright – storing it upright after use allows the water to drain from the bristles easier. All the water and particles collect near the bottom of the handle of the toothbrush. Also, nasty scum collects in containers that do not have a drain. You do not want your bristles touching that scum that could cause your bristles to collect mold and bacteria.
- Replace regularly – with regular usage, the toothbrushes get worn out and require replacements. Due to bad habits like chewing bristles, children’s toothbrushes need more frequent replacement than adults.
You should inspect your brush regularly for wear and consider replacement more often if necessary.
Here are 4 tips from Oral-B.
Do Not Do This
Before you start boiling or freezing your toothbrush, there are a few things you should know about disinfection.
Some cleaning methods touted in mommy blogs and internet forums, including a dishwasher or microwave oven, could destroy the brush. Manufacturers may not have designed their products to withstand these conditions. The cleaning effectiveness of the bristles might be decreased if it is damaged.
Below have two methods for cleaning a toothbrush that has become so popular that they fail to see the consequences. Some sites may say that these methods proved useful to clean the toothbrush. But, there is no authentic source that confirms it.
Both American Dental Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have warned against doing it.
Do Not Microwave Your Toothbrush
Never try to microwave your toothbrush. Microwave irradiation and heat will end up causing a partial change of composition and chemical migration.
As a result, it will destroy the toothbrush and its bristles. Plus, it will impair the functional ability and create harmful chemicals that can get transferred into the mouth.
Apart from this, putting a toothbrush can cause damage to your microwave as well. If you place an electric toothbrush, it can trigger the microwave to cause a spark and get damaged.
Do Not Wash The Toothbrush In A Dishwasher
The consequence of washing your toothbrush in a dishwasher will not be visible at first. You will not like the aftereffect it will cause.
A dishwasher can clean the toothbrush to a certain extent. However, the dishwasher basically uses a high temperature for the cleanup. So, it can damage and melt the brush as well as its bristles.
Even if you adjust the temperature to the low setting, the more extended washing period can degrade the toothbrush fast.
Moreover, you will not enjoy the taste your toothbrush developed from the dishwasher detergent.
Cleaning Your Toothbrush
Many products in the market claim to sanitize and kill all the bacteria on the toothbrush. There are antibacterial rinses, UV (ultraviolet) Light Sanitizers, and even antibacterial bristles are found on some brushes. Studies have shown that some of these products do kill bacteria.
Colgate provides several methods of disinfecting your toothbrush.
- Swirl the bristles in antibacterial mouthwash for 30 seconds.
- Dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a cup of water and soak the toothbrush in the solution.
- Dilute 1 teaspoon of 3 percent strength hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup of water and swish the toothbrush bristles in the solution before brushing.
- Soak the bristles in vinegar overnight once per week.
- Dissolve a denture cleansing tablet according to the instructions on the label and soak the toothbrush bristles in the solution.
Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria, but not all of these are pathogenic. Many germs are not harmful. No matter how much you, your household items will never be completely free from germs, so you don’t necessarily need to buy specific products to disinfect them.
There are some methods of cleaning the brush without making a hole in your pocket.
I have looked into using household chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to clean your toothbrush. Please keep reading to learn what I have figured out.
No matter which method you pick, make sure to rinse the toothbrush head thoroughly with water after brushing. You must do the same after you use any substance to clean the toothbrush.
How To Clean Manual And Electric Toothbrush Head
The approaches we have provided here are usually appropriate for cleaning both electric and manual toothbrushes. Regardless of the methods, you must wipe the toothbrush entirely after washing them. Let it air dry and make sure it doesn’t remain wet.
Sanitize The Toothbrush In UV Sanitizer
You will find 3 common types of UV sanitizers that help sanitize toothbrush heads—one for an electric toothbrush, one for manual, and one for universal.
Uses can be slightly different from one another, but the basics are the same. Most sanitizer models are compatible with all makes and models of toothbrushes, be it manual or electric. Usually, they are portable, making them easy to use and carry. It will take only 5 minutes to sanitize the toothbrush. When shopping for the UV sanitizer, make sure it uses the UVC type ultraviolet light, the type of UV rays that do work.
Hexidine Or Listerine Mouthwash
The method involves soaking your toothbrush head and bristles in a small cup filled with Hexidine or Listerine mouthwash. First, swish the brush for around 30 seconds to remove the hidden debris. Then leave it there for 10 minutes. This should help prevent bacterial contamination.
Make sure you discard this used mouthwash and do not use it for rinsing your mouth.
Use this method at least once a week.
You will need to dilute 1 teaspoon of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide in a cup of water. Then swish the bristles of the toothbrush in the solution for 5 minutes.
If you go with this method, then do it once a week at least.
1% Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach)
1-percent bleach or Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) can be one of the safest and most effective antiseptics against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Immerse the toothbrush head into the (10:1) solution of water and 1% sodium hypochlorite. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and then clean the brush with water to remove excess bleach.
You can use this method regularly or once a week.
Neem is an excellent natural herb used widely for various purposes. It’s quite effective in treating cardiovascular diseases, eye disorders, upset stomachs, skin ulcers, etc.
Using Neem extract to clean your toothbrush might not sound familiar, but it works! Neem works actively against fungal infection. You can also safely use 3% Neem extract to clean your toothbrush.
Dip the toothbrush into the isopropyl or rubbing alcohol and soak for around 30 seconds. This will help disinfect your brush fast. But make sure you rinse the toothbrush thoroughly after using the method.
You can clean the toothbrush this way every alternate day.
Make a solution of two teaspoons of salt (sodium chloride) and a cup of water. Soak your toothbrush head in it for 5 minutes to clean it let it clean thoroughly.
Using this method once a day can help keep the toothbrush contamination-free.
You will need to dissolve two teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of warm water for this method. Then soak your rinsed toothbrush in the solution for around an hour. After that, rinse the brush thoroughly and let it air dry.
You can wash your toothbrush daily with this method to keep it clean.
How To Clean Electric Toothbrush Handle
Since the handle is an electrical appliance, you should not submerge it in water, leading to electric shock. Instead, you should wipe to clean it.
However, you will need three things now. Bleach, water, and a clean white cloth.
Mix a little amount of bleach with plain warm water. It should be 10 parts water to 1-part bleach. Now, damp a small area of the white cloth with the mixture. After that, wipe the handle thoroughly with a clean cloth.
If it is a detachable model, then you can dip a cotton swab in the mixture to wipe the areas where the head attaches to the handle. You may find a small metal post attached to the head. This part can collect both bacteria and water. Hence, you should use the cotton swab or cloth to dig into the crevices and remove the debris.
You can use this method at least once a month. This should help keep the toothbrush handle free of germ while preventing it from getting moldy.
How To Clean Electric Toothbrush Base
The majority of the electric toothbrush models will include a charging base. This piece can accumulate toothpaste and water buildup. As a result, it can develop a weird coating of grey or brown slime around the toothbrush base over time. For this, you must clean that area.
At first, get a clean white cloth. Dampen it a little with the same bleach and water mixture. Now, use it to wipe off the bottom and top of the toothbrush base. Make sure you stay away from the outlet port as well as the cord.
We recommend you wipe the base off whenever it looks wet. This should keep the mold at bay.
Having a crown does not always sound pleasant, especially when your dentist tells you to get one. If you don’t want to face this day, cleaning your teeth with a clean toothbrush is a must. And regular quick rinsing is not enough. It does not help the toothbrush get rid of the germs, bacteria, and debris it accumulates.
That’s why we have tried to cover all the methods through which you can thoroughly clean your toothbrush. Hopefully, this write will make you realize the importance of toothbrush maintenance.