Toothbrushes clean themselves when you brush your teeth, right? Not at all. Your mouth naturally has a lot of bacteria, and while some of it is healthy, some of it is unwanted. While you may think you keep your toothbrush pretty clean, it may actually be harboring lots of potential diseases. Check out these frequently asked questions to learn more about toothbrush cleanliness.
How Should You Care for Your Toothbrush?
The first step in toothbrush care is to store it properly. Many people believe that, if it’s in the medicine cabinet, and the cabinet becomes humid, it’s a perfect environment for bacteria and other germs to thrive. You may be able to reduce the humidity by keeping the door partially open.
Conversely, many fear that, if you leave your tooth brush exposed on the counter, your toothbrush is exposed to toilet plume. Toilet plume is the spray of germs and waste particles across the bathroom every time you flush the toilet. You can fix this by putting the toilet lid down whenever you flush.
Luckily, experts generally agree that you can store your toothbrush on the counter or in the medicine cabinet without many negative effects, assuming you close the toilet lid before you flush and ensure that your toothbrush can dry quickly after each use. The primary drawback is the thought of a germy toothbrush.
If you just can’t stand the idea of your toothbrush being stored in the same room you use to relieve yourself, feel free to store your toothbrush in your bedroom.. Just make sure, no matter where you store the toothbrush, you store it upright, such as in a cup. This helps promote drying.
When you use your toothbrush, make sure to rinse it after every use to keep it clean. If you’re worried it’s too dirty, you can disinfect with bleach (make sure to fully rinse all bleach off before using the toothbrush again), or toss it in the dishwasher. However, if your toothbrush is that dirty, you may just want to replace it. You should replace your toothbrush about once every three to four months.
What Might Be Hiding in Your Toothbrush?
Your toothbrush can contain many dangerous substances if you neglect to clean it, store it correctly, or replace it when needed. Common bacteria include mutans streptococcus, E. coli, beta-hemolytic streptococcus, staphylococci, and porphy-romonas gingivalis.
Mutans streptococcus and porphy-romonas gingival affect the teeth and gums respectively, causing decay or gum disease. E.coli can cause diarrhea, and beta-hemolytic streptococcus can cause strep throat. Staphylococci is the cause of staph infections (skin infections).
Fungus may also be found in your toothbrush. The most common such fungus is candida albicanas, which can cause thrush (yeast infection), creating a white lesions on the tongue.
Your toothbrush may even harbor viruses, such as herpes simplex and hepatitis A, B and C. These are more common if you share your tooth brush, or your toothbrush’s head comes in contact with another person’s toothbrush head.
Of course, along with these less common problems, your toothbrush may retain influenza or cold viruses. Again, this may be more common if you share your toothbrush, but if anyone in your home is sick, and sneezes our coughs near your toothbrush, it may get contaminated.You should always brush your teeth for a healthy smile, but if you use a dirty toothbrush, you may do more harm than good. Make sure you clean and store your toothbrush property, and replace it often. If you would like to know more about general oral health, or if you want to schedule a cleaning or examination, contact us today at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry.