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How to Clean Your Toothbrush - 5 Simple Ways

There are millions of bacteria living in your mouth at any given moment. For those who take good care of their teeth and brush and floss regularly, they can still have thousands of bacteria on each tooth's surface. Because of this, it only makes sense that the tool you're using to clean your teeth gets just as germy and dirty as the rest of your mouth. Learning how to clean toothbrush parts is essential for getting rid of these germs and preventing illness.

Why Clean a Toothbrush?

Your toothbrush is literally full of germs after you brush your teeth and while it's simply sitting in the bathroom waiting to be used. Studies have shown that there are over 10 million bacteria, including E. coli and staph, living on your toothbrush at any given time. Because of the extensive amount of bacteria and germs living on your toothbrush, it is absolutely necessary that you take steps to keep your toothbrush as clean as possible and to replace it entirely after three months. This is made even more important if you or anyone in your family was recently sick.

Five ways to clean your toothbrush

Miniature men decontaminate toothbrush

Knowing how to clean your toothbrush helps when it concerns finding a method that works well for you. The way that you choose to clean your toothbrush depends solely on what is most convenient for you and what you have readily available to you. You might also want to find a method that is better than others like you'll find with UV sanitation.

  • UV Sanitizer - UV Sanitation uses powerful ultraviolet rays to eliminate millions of germs in just a few minutes. Some of these models are portable, which means that you just place your toothbrush inside of the machine and it does the work for you, allowing you to bring the machine with you wherever you might go.

    Studies have shown that this particular method of disinfection is by far the best available when sanitizing a wide range of different products and tools. The UV station uses a patented method known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation which utilizes short wavelength ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.

    By destroying their nucleic acids and thereby disrupting their DNA, the bacteria is no longer able to function or multiply. UV sanitation is most often used by laboratories, hospitals and doctor offices, which lets you know it's an incredibly effective way of killing germs.
  • Mouthwash or Alcohol - When soaked for several hours, mouthwash and alcohol can effectively eliminate the germs and bacteria that are lurking on the surface of your toothbrush. In order to effectively clean your brush using either mouthwash or alcohol, make sure that you fill a cup and place your brush, head side down, into the cup. Allow the brush to sit in the mixture for at least four hours before taking it out. Rinse the brush thoroughly after you've removed it from the cup.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide - You can get a clean toothbrush with hydrogen peroxide as it uses oxygenated bubbles to gently, yet effectively remove germs and bacteria from the surface of the toothbrush. Most people have hydrogen peroxide readily available at home, which makes this option an often convenient one for most who just want a quick and effective clean. As with getting a clean toothbrush with alcohol, you'll want to let your toothbrush head soak in the hydrogen peroxide for at least six hours before it is deemed sanitized and cleaned.
  • Vinegar - Getting a clean toothbrush with vinegar is another easy option for individuals who want a sanitized and clean toothbrush without all of the hassles of finding specialty products. White distilled vinegar works best for this method and you'll want to soak your toothbrush for up to eight hours. Most people who soak their toothbrush using vinegar find that leaving the brush in the mixture overnight works best.
  • Boiling Water - You can also get a clean toothbrush with boiling water. This can be done by first boiling water and placing your toothbrush into the pot. Keep a careful eye on the brush to ensure that it's not sticking to the sides or burning. You will want to gently stir the toothbrush around using a spoon to cover all of its surfaces. New mothers often use this boiling method to sanitize bottle nipples and pacifiers, so it makes sense that it'd be useful for toothbrushes as well. It only takes about 10 minutes in boiling water for your toothbrush to be fully sanitized.

Cold and flu. What to do?

Men with flu cleans nose

Knowing how to clean your toothbrush isn't always enough since you need to know when to do it as well. You do not need to disinfect toothbrush and other oral hygiene products every single time that you use them, as this can easily compromise the toothbrush and cause it does not last as long as it should.

However, if you or any of your family members have recently been sick with colds, the flu or other illnesses, you absolutely must take measures to sanitize the toothbrushes in the house. This will eliminate any sickness that was left on the toothbrush while the person was ill and prevents the germs from being reintroduced into the body.

When should you clean vs replace a toothbrush?

Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months, so even the best clean toothbrush pitch won't make up for the fact that you have to get a new toothbrush. Trying to save an older toothbrush by continuously cleaning and disinfecting it is still going to be a problem as the bristles eventually wear down over time. While the toothbrush might be clean because you learned how to clean toothbrush parts, you're still not getting a good clean because the bristles have been compromised. However, if your toothbrush is less than three months old, you can and should disinfect it regularly.

Why Clean a Toothbrush?

Your toothbrush is literally full of germs after you brush your teeth and while it's simply sitting in the bathroom waiting to be used. Studies have shown that there are over 10 million bacteria, including E. coli and staph, living on your toothbrush at any given time. Because of the extensive amount of bacteria and germs living on your toothbrush, it is absolutely necessary that you take steps to keep your toothbrush as clean as possible and to replace it entirely after three months. This is made even more important if you or anyone in your family was recently sick.

Tips on a clean toothbrush soak

Now that you know how to clean toothbrush parts and accessories, it's vital that you make it a habit at least once a week. Use whichever method above works for you and soak either the entire toothbrush or just the head where most of the bacteria are living and multiplying. By sanitizing your toothbrush once a week, you're preventing the germs from getting out of hand and from you putting this bacteria into your mouth, which can lead to illness and other dental problems. In fact, many people have even developed dental decay simply because they were brushing their teeth with a dirty brush.

Think of any other household chore in comparison to brushing your teeth. You wouldn't scrub down your tub and shower with a filthy germ-riddled brush and call it clean. The same can be said about your toothbrush, as this is something you use at least twice a day in one of the dirtiest places on your body: your mouth. Keeping the toothbrush nice and clean and then replacing it after three months guarantees that you're always using a fresh brush and getting the best clean possible.


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