Posted on March 1st, 2022
You clean your teeth regularly and take a pride in your personal and dental hygiene. Yet, it’s all too easy to overlook keeping your toothbrush holder clean. Perhaps, without realizing it, you could be undoing all that hard work that goes into keeping your mouth clean by neglecting to keep your toothbrush and toothbrush holder clean. In this blog, we take a close look at what might be lurking on your toothbrush and toothbrush holder. Importantly, we also cover some simple tips for keeping your toothbrush and toothbrush holder in pristine, clean condition.
Toothbrush Holders: Up There in the Grime Rankings
In a study conducted by the National Sanitation Foundation, the toothbrush holder ranked as the third grimiest and germ ridden spot of the average home – only beaten in the bacteria stakes by the humble kitchen sponge and the kitchen sink. It makes sense: most toothbrush holders are located somewhere close to the toilet. Each and every flush of the toilet results in an aerosol spray of toilet debris, including fecal matter. Our mouths are also bacteria ridden locations. So our toothbrush picks up bacteria from our mouths which then make their way (multiplying as they go) to the holder. Damp and rarely cleaned toothbrush holders become a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Whilst we use a multitude of bathroom products, disinfect the toilet bowl and clean toilet flush handles regularly, it’s not necessarily part of your weekly cleaning routine to inspect and clean the toothbrush holder. The net results? Germs and gunk easily build up, out of sight and out of mind.
Toothbrushes Breed Bacteria, Too
It’s not just the toothbrush holder that harbor germs and bacteria. Your toothbrush itself is likely to be a breeding ground for gunk. According to researchers at the University of Manchester in England, the average toothbrush is home to more than 100 million bacteria including E. coli and staphylococci (Staph) bacteria. So, with all this in mind, how do you go about keeping your toothbrush, toothbrush holder and bathroom sink clean and hygienic?
Toothbrush Storage for Toothbrush Hygiene
Consider, firstly, where, and how you are storing your toothbrush? There are options. The American Dental Association recommends that you store toothbrushes so they can air-dry in upright position, and so they don’t touch each other. Rinse the brush carefully after each use and dry off the handle with a paper towel to reduce the amount of moisture on the brush. Allowing your toothbrush to air dry reduces the amount of moisture that promotes bacteria growth. You may want to consider storing your toothbrush in a bathroom cupboard or drawer but do ensure there is air circulation to allow the brush to dry between uses.
Reducing Bacteria on the Toothbrush
You can also reduce the number of potential bacteria on toothbrushes by attending to overall bathroom hygiene. Close the toilet lid before flushing to reduce aerosol spray onto surfaces. Another crucial way to reduce bacteria on the brush itself is to never, ever, share toothbrushes. Doing so increases the range of bacteria on the brush and can introduce harmful bacteria into your own mouth.
Disinfecting Your Toothbrush
You can also attend to regular cleaning of your toothbrush by investing in a UV sanitizer. There are a range of products on the market that offer long lasting protection. Another option is to weekly clean and disinfect your toothbrush by soaking in alcohol-based mouthwash or Milton sterilising fluid. Whilst you might be tempted to sanitize your toothbrush by placing it in the microwave or dishwasher, it is likely that this will damage the bristles of the brush and so these methods are to be avoided.
Don’t Forget to Replace Your Toothbrush
There will come a time, of course, when it is time to change your toothbrush or toothbrush head. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. This is especially important if you notice the bristles of the brush are spayed or if your immune system is compromised.
Cleaning the Toothbrush Holder
Then there is your toothbrush holder itself. If you follow the American Dental Association’s recommendation to store toothbrushes in an upright position, any moisture on the handle of the brush will travel downwards and pool in the bottom of the holder. Gravity does the job of allowing the build up of moisture over time and before you know it, stagnant, bacteria filled water has produced a smelly and germ ridden mess at the bottom of the brush holder.
Be mindful about cleaning your brush holder regularly. If the toothbrush holder is dishwasher safe, a simple solution is to place the toothbrush holder inside the dishwasher once a week. If not, then look to clean regularly with hot soapy water. Use a long, thin brush to reach and clean in cavities and hard to reach spots that harbor the tell-tale red bloom of bacteria build-up. You can then rinse with hot water and wipe with disinfecting solution, ideally on a weekly basis.
Cleaning the Sink Area
Whilst we are talking toothbrush and toothbrush holder cleanliness, it’s worth also mentioning the sink itself. The place you clean your teeth also needs to be kept clean and sanitized if you are taking hygiene seriously. When you brush your teeth, you spit out the remnants of the toothpaste foam that has done the job of dislodging bacteria, tartar and plaque from your teeth, mouth, and tongue. That debris ends up in the sink. Ensure you rinse out the sink after every toothbrush session to rinse remains down the drain. On a weekly basis you also need to clean and disinfect the sink and sink area, including the faucets and drain. Take care when using bleach to clean with. If this is part of your weekly routine, you will keep on top of managing the cleanliness and hygiene of your teeth brushing space.
So, for overall mouth and teeth hygiene, remember to attend to cleaning not only the bathroom and sink itself, but also your toothbrush and toothbrush holder too. Knowing you have a clean and hygienic system for all things dental means you can smile with confidence.
Dental hygiene is an important factor in taking care of yourself, as well as keeping a clean and tidy home. If doing everything is too much for you, and there’s no shame in that, then consider hiring one of our professional cleaners to help instead. Our team of vetted, licensed cleaners are available whenever you need them to get your home in check. Use our online portal to book your first cleaning appointment with us today.