Tooth Truth or Mouth Myth: Does flushing the toilet spread germs that can contaminate your toothbrush?
Your Dakota Dental Apple Valley dentists report that this is a Tooth Truth. Let’s see why and how you can keep your toothbrush clean!
Often people keep their toothbrushes in a holder on their bathroom countertop. And while this is a handy spot, the convenience comes at a price, especially when it comes to the toilet.
When you flush, the bacteria become aerosolized, and that toilet spray can travel up to six feet, landing on the countertop, walls, floor, and your toothbrush. This phenomenon is known as toilet plume.
The Solution: Tuck your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet or drawer with the door closed to prevent bacteria from accumulating. If that’s not possible, store your toothbrush as far from the toilet as possible so it’s out of reach of the dreaded toilet plume. You also want to make sure you’re changing your toothbrush regularly. (More on this later!)
Should I close the toilet lid before flushing?
Yes! It’s a good idea to get into the habit of always closing the toilet lid before flushing to prevent bacteria from spreading. Not only is it better for your toothbrush, but it’s also more sanitary for your bathroom.
Are toothbrush covers sanitary?
Even though it may seem more hygienic (and even more civilized) to slide a nice little cover on your toothbrush after brushing your teeth, it’s not actually a healthy practice. Moisture gets trapped within the toothbrush cap, keeps your bristles from drying out, and promotes bacterial growth.
After brushing your teeth, rinse your toothbrush with hot water before storing it vertically. This allows it to air dry properly.
How can I sanitize my toothbrush?
If you want to protect yourself from bacteria, you can take steps to sanitize your toothbrush. Remember to always follow directions carefully and only use products that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Mouthwash. You can swish your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash for about two minutes. Use this method sparingly; the harsher chemicals in the mouthwash can wear down your toothbrush bristles.
Boiling Water. Dip your toothbrush into recently boiled water for about 30 seconds.
Denture Cleaners. Place your toothbrush upside down in a glass filled with water and a denture tablet. Leave it in there for 90 seconds before taking it out and letting it air dry.
UV Sanitizers. There are also UV toothbrush sanitizers, although the CDC has said that they’re not necessary to keep your toothbrush clean.
You don’t need to sanitize your toothbrush, but it can be helpful if you’re particularly susceptible to infections.
How often should you change your toothbrush?
Dakota Dental suggests following the American Dental Association’s recommendation to replace your toothbrush every 3–4 months or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
Think of proper toothbrush care as essential to your oral hygiene. A worn toothbrush can’t adequately clean your teeth.
Beyond those regular replacements, you should also change your toothbrush after a bout of the flu, a cold, or other viral infections. Notorious microbes like to implant themselves within your toothbrush bristles and can lead to re-infection, which you definitely don’t want!
This is a good time to remind everyone that everyone in your household should have their own toothbrush and that you’re not sharing. Even littles need their own dedicated toothbrushes.
Give Your Teeth Some TLC
Even with the toilet lid down, a brand-new toothbrush, and your very best personal oral hygiene, it’s still essential to come for routine check-ups. Visit the caring and professional team at your Dakota Dental for dental cleanings and preventative dental procedures, which are vital for good gum and dental health.
Schedule your appointment today. And don’t forget to close the toilet lid before flushing!