Do you clean your toothbrush after every use? If you brush your teeth at least twice daily, or perhaps after every meal, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests you clean your toothbrush regularly to avoid the harboring of bacteria. Here are specific things the ADA suggests for keeping your toothbrush free of bacteria.
Do Not Share a Toothbrush
It may come as no surprise that this is the first recommendation for keeping a clean toothbrush. Since you don't know whether someone has a compromised immune system, it could be risky to exchange body fluids or other microorganisms with another person. This could place you at risk for an infection.
Rinse Your Toothbrush with Tap Water
The easiest thing to do to clean your toothbrush is to thoroughly rinse it after each use, under cold, tap water. This will remove any residue and debris. Make sure you get to all that toothpaste stuck between the bristles and the head of the toothbrush. A clear handle is most helpful for this purpose, as it allows you to see if there is any residue left behind.
Replace Your Toothbrush Frequently
Make sure you get a new toothbrush at our office on your six-month check-up and change it every three to four-months. If you change it once in between visits, that will follow the guidelines suggested by the ADA. Store it upright and allow it to air dry.
There are several suggestions for cleaning your toothbrush that are not endorsed by the ADA, such as using hydrogen peroxide, using a mouth antiseptic, or microwaving the toothbrush.
While some of these recommendations won't hurt, there is no clinical study that supports them as a way of sanitizing your toothbrush and in the instance of microwaving or running your toothbrush in the dishwasher could damage the bristles.