You might not realize it — but your toothbrush is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Think about it. It’s coated in water, toothpaste, bits of old food and the bacteria in your mouth (the same germs that cause cavities). And if you recently had flu, cold or other sickness, those germs are also on your toothbrush — and could be passed onto other nearby toothbrushes and get members of your family sick.
Toothbrushes are fertile breeding grounds for a variety of viruses and bacteria. That’s why the National Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months and clean it thoroughly at least once a week.
In fact, the American Dental Association recommends cleaning all toothpaste and food debris after you brush your teeth by rinsing the bristles thoroughly in clean water. Once you’ve cleaned your toothbrush, stand it on its handle end and make sure it’s not touching other toothbrushes to allow it to air dry. Avoid using a toothbrush cover because this keeps in moisture and breeds bacteria. Never share your toothbrush, even with a significant other.
If you want to go the extra mile, soak your toothbrush in an anti-bacterial mouthwash — perhaps once a week. We also recommend storing your toothbrush in a small cup of hydrogen peroxide — change it out every time you brush.
You can also use a denture cleanser to disinfect your toothbrush. Denture cleanser is made up of antimicrobial ingredients that target bacteria and plaque that grow in your mouth. Always use a fresh denture cleanser — not the same stuff you already used to clean your dentures.
You might also try ultraviolet (UV) light sanitizer products made specially for toothbrushes.