When you start to think about all those bacteria that lurk in your mouth and in the bathroom, you might find yourself staring at your toothbrush and questioning whether it is sanitary to keep using it. Most people just got used to rinsing with water and leaving them to air dry. Is it enough, or is it necessary to take additional steps to sanitize it?
Bacteria love areas that are warm, moist, and dark, like your bathroom. Worse, they might thrive even more if you keep your toothbrush covered or kept in a closed container. Sanitizing will be able to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria on your toothbrush. Sterilizing, which is a completely different process, will kill all living organisms in the toothbrush.
The American Dental Association, however, states that there is no way to really sterilize a toothbrush, nor is it necessary. Even sanitizing is not a must, as there is no evidence that it can harm or improve your health.
However, you might consider sanitizing when someone at home is sick or there is a high risk of getting infected. This can help prevent any possible transmission of disease, especially when toothbrushes are side-by-side in one container and might touch each other. Here are some sanitation methods you can try out.
- Use Antibacterial Mouthwash
The simplest way to sanitize your toothbrush is to rinse or soak it in antibacterial mouthwash. However, it is important to not leave it for more than 15 minutes because it will damage the bristles of your toothbrush.
- Put It In The Dishwasher
An easy way to do it is to just put it in the dishwasher. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against this as it may also damage the toothbrush. Moreover, the dishwasher soap you use is not really designed for toothbrushes.
- Use A UV sanitizer
Nowadays, you can purchase a UV sanitizer that uses UV light to thoroughly clean your toothbrush. This is great as water might still have some bacteria that could get into the toothbrush. The UV sanitizer removes this risk. However, you will need to purchase a special device where you can sanitize the toothbrush for about 6 to 8 minutes. You can do this before and/or after using it.
While this is a great option to sanitize your toothbrush, you might want to do it only when it is really needed as it is also considered damaging to the bristles. It is also not capable of removing all the germs. Still, if you decide to invest in one, make sure to purchase a model that is approved by the FDA.
- Use Disinfecting Tablets
There are effervescent tablets that are used for disinfecting, much like ones used for dentures. They only needed to be added to warm water, and you just need to soak the top of the toothbrush in the solution for no longer than 10 minutes. You may talk to your dentist in Annapolis MD to ask which disinfecting tablets are suitable for toothbrushes.
There may be reasons why sanitizing toothbrushes seems logical. However, keeping a brush clean by running it under warm water will also remove the food and toothpaste remaining in the bristles. Afterwards, letting it air dry without touching other bristles will help. Sharing toothbrushes should never be done due to it being very unsanitary. In fact, regularly replacing (every 3 to 4 months) it will reduce the buildup of bacteria. If anyone is sick at home, you can also opt for disposable toothbrushes to eliminate the need to sanitize. In fact, these steps might already be enough to keep you safe from harmful bacteria.