To deep clean your toothbrush, occasionally run it though the dishwasher. Be sure to place it on the top rack, so it doesn’t melt or bend due to the heat.
A less drastic method is to simply wash the bristles before and after every use by holding it under hot running water, and rubbing your thumb over it forcefully for five or ten seconds. Be sure to wash your hands before using this method.
Effective cleaning often involves swishing the bristles in various liquids. Some of the most common solutions for cleaning by swishing include mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
Although some people opt to keep theirs in mouthwash except when they’re actually using it, swishing it in mouthwash for thirty seconds, prior to use, is sufficient. You can also put 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup of water, and swish the bristles in it prior to use.
If you don’t like the taste of hydrogen peroxide, you may rinse your bristles with clean water prior to use. If you opt not to rinse the peroxide mixture off before brushing your teeth, in addition to disinfecting, the hydrogen peroxide will help whiten your teeth.
Place the toothbrush in a cup with one part water and one part bleach – just enough to cover the bristles. Swish it around for thirty seconds, then rinse.
Be careful not to splash any bleach on your clothing or in your eyes, and be sure to rinse out the cup thoroughly immediately after use so that no one accidentally drinks the bleach mixture. Also, be sure to rinse off the bleach mixture prior to using the mouth cleaner.
Some people choose to soak theirs anytime they are not using it. Unfortunately, many of those same people use the same soaking solution several days in a row, which can actually hurt, rather than help the problem.
A solution is to soak the bristles in undiluted vinegar overnight, once every two weeks. The vinegar kills the majority of mold, germs and bacteria.
For a quick soak method, put your toothbrush in a clean mug and cover the bristles with boiling water. Keep it in the boiling water for three minutes and then use as usual.
Some people recommend allowing a bristles to dry thoroughly before using it again. Therefore, it is helpful to have at least two toothbrushes.
Alternate between the two each time your brush your teeth. You might want to get into the habit of using a specific toothbrush in the morning and another one in the evening so you don’t have to remember which one you last used.
If you typically brush three times per day, three would work well for this method. The family holder that holds multiple toothbrushes is really not a good idea, as the bristles kept together in the same container often end up touching, which can result in the spread of germs.
Keep your mouth cleaners in separate containers to avoid cross contamination. The bathroom is full of nasty germs, so some people choose to put a protector over theirs, or keep it in the medicine cabinet.
However, this method can cause problems if you cover the bristles before they have a chance to dry thoroughly. Using a cover with holes helps the toothbrush to air out if by chance it was not completely dry before covering.
An easier method to help avoid airborne contaminants landing on your mouth cleaner may be to keep it on the sink counter that is as far away from the toilet as possible, and being sure to close the toilet lid before flushing the toilet. You can also head to your local drug or discount store and pick up a UV cleaner for about $ 20.
No matter how much care you put into cleaning your toothbrush, most dentists recommend replacing it every three or four months, or when it shows sign of excessive wear, such as bent bristles. It is also a good idea to replace your toothbrush after any type of illness.
Terry Daniels is a former dental assistant and has authored hundreds of articles relating to oral health and dentist in Victorville, CA. He has been a guest dental lecturer for over 15 years.