Isn’t it ironical that a device meant to remove germs may, in itself, contain thousands of germs? Yes, this is very true in the case of our toothbrushes. Over thousands of bacteria may be present in our toothbrush if proper care is not observed.
How Bacteria May Infest a Toothbrush
Various types of microorganisms numbering in the thousands make our mouths their homes, particularly the oral cavities. Since toothbrushes get into contact with these germs while cleaning, these may transfer to the toothbrush if not removed after brushing. Once germs find their way into our toothbrushes, this will continue to increase making us vulnerable to illnesses. These microorganisms can include the one million colony-forming units (CFU’s).
It has also been shown that germs from the toilet may transfer to the toothbrush exposing us to gastrointestinal problems. This becomes possible when there is not enough hand washing after using the toilet then proceeding to brushing the teeth. This may also occur when microscopic droplets emanating from the toilet are released during flushing. Contamination may start even before using the toothbrush since packaging of toothbrushes is performed in a sterile manner.
Ensuring That Toothbrushes Remain Clean
To ensure that our toothbrushes are free of microorganism, here are some suggestions coming different dental health organizations.
- Toothbrushes should be thoroughly cleaned after use with water to make sure that germs, toothpaste, and other debris are removed.
- Soaking toothbrushes in an antibacterial mouthwash may also be a good idea to ensure that bacteria are removed.
- It has been recommended by the American Dental Association that toothbrushes should not be stored in a closed container since a damp environment increases the risk of bacterial growth.
- If possible, toothbrushes should be stored in an upright position and allowed to dry.
- Toothbrushes in a rack should not be in contact with the other toothbrushes since contact increases the possibility of contamination.
- To avoid infection after an illness, it may be best to replace the old toothbrush.
- Toothbrushes should be replaced at least every three months or whenever the bristles are frayed or worn out.
Maintaining Oral Hygiene
The importance of oral hygiene cannot be stressed enough, considering the various ways it can affect our health and quality of life. As additional suggestion, dentists remind everyone to put premium in dental care by following good dental practices and by making regular visits to the dentist. Your dentist can immediately act when tooth problems start to appear and this is also an opportunity to have your teeth cleaned to prevent plaque from building up in your teeth.