Do not read this if you are squeamish !
Your humble toothbrush might look innocent enough but, it is a huge bacteria magnet……..
A toothbrush can contain over 10 million bacteria including E.Coli and Staph – here’s how:
In an unbrushed mouth, there can be as many germs as a dirty bathroom floor. Your toothbrush can also be contaminated by the water splashed when we wash our hands or, worse, by bacteria from an open flushed toilet. Nasties that fall from toilet spray remain airborne long enough to settle on surfaces throughout the bathroom. NOTE if you drop your toothbrush on the floor, the five secondrule does not apply! It will instantly pick up airborne bacteria that have settled on the floor and everything else that people traipse through via their feet.
Now that I have utterly grossed you out, are you ready to start giving your toothbrush the respect it deserves? Here are Faye’s tips on how to keep your brush clean:
- Get a new brush! Your manual toothbrush should be replaced every 4 weeks. Your electric brush head every 2 months.
- Use a good toothpaste. Some toothpastes are better than others at killing germs. Buy one that contains triclosan or copolymer – it’s better than regular fluoride toothpastes at killing oral bacteria.
- Don’t share toothbrushes – keep your bacteria to yourself. You have enough without taking on someone else’s too plus, you don’t know how well they have looked after their toothbrush.
- Pay attention when you squeeze – when you’re squeezing toothpaste onto your toothbrush, make sure you don’t press the opening into the bristles. It’s better to lay the toothpaste over the brush without physically contacting the toothpaste opening.
- Clean your brush thoroughly – make sure you rinse your brush thoroughly after each use. There are special solutions you can buy to disinfect the brush but, they are costly. A perfectly effective alternative is to soak your brush in mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide occasionally – especially if you have dropped it on the floor! I often put mine through the dishwasher!
- Close the toilet lid before you flush! Every time! Train children to do the same.
- Expose your brush to air. It may seem an obvious solution to store your brush in an airtight container but, this will create an environment more favourable for bacteria to multiply. The best wish to store your brush is in a bathroom cabinet – that way, it still gets enough air but, is protected from external bacteria. When toothbrushes are stored together, make sure the heads don’t touch.
DH&T Best Hygienist 2014
The Dental Awards Hygienist Of The Year 2014