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How to Clean and Disinfect Your Toothbrush

We brush our teeth daily at least twice to remove plaque and bacteria on our teeth surface and in the oral cavity. Have you ever thought that the toothbrush may contain lots of germs if we don’t clean and disinfect it regularly?

The Importance of Keeping Toothbrushes Clean

People may wonder why we need to clean the toothbrush. The main reason is that the toothbrush is easily contaminated with bacteria, saliva, blood and toothpaste after each brushing. Besides, you may accidentally drop a toothbrush onto the floor, but you would just rinse it and put it back to where it belongs. Even if you rinse the toothbrush, the bacteria is still sticking on the toothbrush. You will then transfer the bacteria into your mouth when you brush again.

You may wonder why there are so many bacteria on the toothbrush. Where do they come from?

Our oral cavity is home to millions of germs, especially those living in the plaque that sticks on our teeth. When we brush our teeth, germs will be transferred to the bristles. Apart from that, bacteria from your toilet will stick on your toothbrush as well. How is that possible? When you flush your toilet without covering the toilet bowl, the swirling water in the toilet bowl shoots the faecal coliform bacteria (bacteria from faeces) into the air and end up on your toothbrush. Therefore, it is crucial to clean a toothbrush to kill germs and maintain proper oral hygiene.

Tips to Clean and Disinfect Your Toothbrush

You may want to know how to clean and disinfect your toothbrush. Here are some tips for you.

1. Change your toothbrush regularly

The bristles in your toothbrush may get frayed and worn over time, losing their stiffness, which eventually reduces its efficiency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is recommended to change the toothbrush once every three months1 to ensure your toothbrush can clear away food particles and oral bacteria in your oral cavity effectively.

2. Leave the toothbrush to soak 2 minutes with an antibacterial mouthwash

If you think that rinsing the toothbrush with hot water is not safe enough to destroy the bacteria. Then, you can try to put your toothbrush into the antibacterial mouthwash for about 2 minutes. However, your toothbrush may be easily worn out as the mouthwash contains some ingredients that would break down the bristles.

3. Soak the toothbrush with baking soda for 15 minutes

Besides using mouthwash, you can make a natural solution to clean your toothbrush. Mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 cup of water and stir it completely. Then, you can put your toothbrush into this mixed solution for 15 minutes and let it air dry.

4. Soak the toothbrush with 3% hydrogen peroxide every day

According to research, 3.0% hydrogen peroxide is the most economical disinfectant that can reduce bacteria to the lowest level2. Thus, you can put your toothbrush into a small cup that has 3.0% hydrogen peroxide. But remember, the 3.0% hydrogen peroxide needs to change day by day before placing the toothbrush into it.

5. Use UV toothbrush sanitizers to clean and disinfect your toothbrush

A UV toothbrush sanitizer may be less powerful than the 3% hydrogen peroxide and mouthwash in killing the bacteria on the toothbrush, but it is still proven effective to disinfect toothbrushes3. However, it is not budget-effective, and it is not necessary to have one for cleaning toothbrushes.

How to clean and disinfect your electric toothbrush head?

What if you are using electric toothbrushes? How to keep your toothbrush hygienic? It is simple! For electric toothbrushes, you can change the toothbrush head every 3 months. During the 3-month period with the same toothbrush head, you can use the same methods to clean and disinfect the toothbrush head like the traditional toothbrush.

If you want to support better oral hygiene, remember to clean and disinfect your toothbrush regularly and replace it with a new one every 3 months. Darlie provides a range of toothbrushes for you to choose from, including Electronic Sonic Toothbrush, Essential Clean Toothbrush, Advanced Deep Toothbrush, Gum Care Toothbrush and Kids Toothbrush. Find your best toothbrush here!

1 American Dental Association. Toothbrush Care: Cleaning, Storing and Replacement. http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-external icon. November 2011. Accessed March 18, 2016.
2 Konidala U, Nuvvula S, Mohapatra A, Nirmala S. Efficacy of various disinfectants on microbially contaminated toothbrushes due to brushing. Contemp Clin Dent [serial online] 2011 [cited 2021 Nov 26];2:302-7. Available from: https://www.contempclindent.org/text.asp?2011/2/4/302/91793
3 Glass RT, Jensen HG. The effectiveness of a u-v toothbrush sanitizing device in reducing the number of bacteria, yeasts and viruses on toothbrushes. J Okla Dent Assoc. 1994 Spring;84(4):24-8. PMID: 7931767. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7931767/
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How to Clean and Disinfect Your Toothbrush