As you reach for your toothbrush every day, you may not realise what’s hanging out on its bristles. A lot of germs that cannot be seen with the naked eyes will be smiling at you. They will be saying “yes put me in your mouth and brush your teeth”. Most people don’t give much thought to their toothbrushes – and if they do, they assume that, because it is used to clean the teeth and mouth every day it is also clean. Wrong! Toothbrushes can actually harbour some germs that pose as a danger to your mouth and teeth.Toothbrushes can become contaminated with oral microbial organisms whenever they are placed in the mouth. Not to mention toothbrushes don’t have to be sold in sterile packaging, so they may have bacteria right out of the box. Viruses and bacteria from an infected person’s mouth can live for weeks on a toothbrush surface. They have an ugly truth that most people know about it but don’t adhere to it. They are as follows:
Bacteria and Plaque
The human mouth is and always has been a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. The problem can begin, however, when an imbalance happens between the beneficial and harmful bacteria in the mouth. This imbalance can lead to the formation of plaque and eventually to gum disease.
Does Brushing Make the Problem Worse?
So, bacteria in the mouth are a fact of life, but as long as a certain balance is kept, generally there is no problem. However, sometimes brushing can actually cause problems because it can push the bacteria beneath the skin in your mouth, where it can foment serious infections. They can lead to recurring illnesses if your immune system is low or somehow compromised.
Toothbrushes and Illness
Toothbrush does harbour large concentrations of bacteria. However, they do caution that people think about how their brush is being stored, including how close it is to the toilet. When the toilet it flushed, it can send a spray of water and bacteria into the air, bacteria you do not want near your toothbrush.
Toothbrush holders, particularly if they are close to the toilet, can harbour whole colonies of bacteria. Oddly enough, even though people rank the toothbrush holder as a place that it likely to harbour germs, it often gets overlooked when the bathroom is getting cleaned. It is important, though, to clean and disinfect the holder regularly to prevent this problem.
How to keep a germ free toothbrush
Toothbrushes are a lot dirtier than many people believe. However, following a few important safety tips can keep them healthier and safer for you and your mouth!
Toothbrushes and Germ Reduction
Now that it has been established that toothbrushes are bacteria magnets, what is there to be done? Rinse the toothbrush after use, dry it, store it in an upright position and, don’t use toothbrush covers, since they, too, can become harbours for germs.
There are several products currently on the market that will sanitize a toothbrush. However, while some of these products have been shown to actually be effective at cleaning bacteria, there remains no evidence to show that keeping the toothbrush sanitized will prevent you from becoming ill.
Keep It Clean
You may not give much thought to cleaning your toothbrush, since you are wetting it every day to brush your teeth. However, it’s important–and easy– to do. Give your toothbrush a thorough rinse with tap water to remove debris. If you are ill or have or immune disorder, you may want to soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher. There are many types of toothbrush sanitizers on the market. Just go and get it, you don’t have to break the bank to buy it.
Store it properly
After use, don’t pop that wet toothbrush back into your medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom cup and forget about it. Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out. Look for a cover that lets air circulate and prevents mold, but isn’t completely sealed. The lack of air can foster bacteria.
When to Call It Quits
How long should you keep a toothbrush to prevent the bacteria from building up? Here are a few useful tips: Know when to let go. Replace your toothbrush about every 3 to 4 months, or when it shows sign of wear. Frayed bristled will not clean the teeth and gums adequately. Toss toothbrushes after illness. Throw away a brush you or anyone in your home used while sick. Yes, that means all toothbrushes.
Tempted to lend a toothbrush to a family member? Don’t! Toothbrush sharing can transfer saliva and bacteria — even the kind that causes tooth decay. Tooth decay is considered an infectious disease.