As a general dentist in Louisville, CO, our team wants all of our patients to enjoy a healthy, great-looking smile. Quality oral health depends on regularly brushing and flossing, which makes your toothbrush an essence weapon in the war against plaque. Unfortunately, the way many people treat their toothbrush leaves a lot to be desired.
If we had to guess where most of the patients who visit our general dentist in Louisville, CO store their toothbrush it would be in a cup that sits on the bathroom sink. Sadly, while convenient, that’s actually a pretty bad place to position your toothbrush – and there’s actual science to prove it!
In a study published in The Journal of Hospital Infection, fecal particles have been detected as high as 10 inches in the air above the seat immediately after the toilet is flushed. When you consider the idea of an open window or fan helping to distribute those fecal particles throughout the bathroom – well you can see why the placement of a toothbrush really matters.
If you think the simple solution is to place a protective cover over your brush – like the kind you use when traveling – that also presents some potential health challenges. By storing your toothbrush in a closed container, you promote the growth of microbes that could potentially lead to you getting sick.
So, how can you protect your toothbrush from all of the types of nasty germs and particles you’d rather not place into your mouth? Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to make a difference.
Step 1.) Move Your Brush Away from the Toilet
Start by placing your brush as far away from the toilet as possible. The farther away your brush, the less chance it will become contaminated.
If you have a medicine cabinet with a door, that can offer a great place to store your brush. Just make sure that nothing touches your brush, and that you don’t store it near any soaps, chemicals, medicines, or cosmetics. Contaminating your brush with makeup remover, contact solution, or shaving gels can also contribute to you getting potentially sick.
Step 2.) Close the Lid Before Flushing
As a basic safety tip, you should really get into the habit of closing the lid of your toilet before flushing. That study we mentioned earlier found that fecal particles were not spread throughout a bathroom if the toilet was flushed with the lid closed.
Fecal particles spreading throughout your bathroom presents other health challenges, even if they don’t land on your toothbrush. Landing on contact cases, eyelash brushes, or eye liner pencils can cause conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.
Step 3.) Wait for Your Brush to Dry Before Covering
Covering your toothbrush when it’s still wet can actually do more harm than good. As we mentioned previously, a wet brush promotes the growth of bacteria, and a moldy toothbrush is not what anyone wants to brush with.
If you need to cover your toothbrush for travel, there’s a right way to accomplish the task. The ADA recommends that you dry the head of a toothbrush with a clean cloth or paper towel by gently squeezing the brush. This will allow you to force out the moisture without breaking or damaging the bristles.
Bonus Tip.) Change Your Brush Every Three Months
Like any good tool, a toothbrush can eventually wear down from constant use. A toothbrush that needs replacing will feature bristles that are bent, broken, or that no longer firmly stand up. While certain brushes may last longer than others, we recommend patients change their brush every 3 to 4 months.
If you need a new toothbrush, make sure to ask for one during your next visit to see our general dentist in Louisville, CO.