Could your toothbrush make you sick?
Did you know that your toothbrush is home to more than 100 million bacteria including E. coli and staphylococci (Staph) bacteria, according to researchers at the University of Manchester?
Although it's not really a reason to panic because your mouth and gums are host to bacteria in themselves, it does make sense to follow some hygiene tips to ensure that your toothbrush doesn't make you poorly. Dentists advise that you change your toothbrush every 3 months, but if the bristles are starting to splay before then, you will need to change it. If you're having to change your brush too regularly, it could be a sign that you are brushing too hard.
Here's some hygiene tips for your toothbrush:
- Don't brush where you flush! Every time you flush the toilet, bacteria are released into the air that then land on surfaces nearby
- If your brush head has a cap, don't use it. It forms a breeding ground for bacteria. Let the brush dry out between uses ideally
- Thoroughly rinse the bristles before and after use, preferably with warm water. Ensure there is no food debris left. Make sure all toothpaste is washed off the handle after use
- If you use a toothbrush holder, make sure the head faces up and exposed to fresh air. Clean it out regularly
- NEVER share toothbrushes and don't let different peoples' brushes touch
- Clean your toothbrush once a week. Simply leave them to soak in a cup of white vinegar for a couple of hours, before rinsing thoroughly and allowing to dry. It's especially advisable to do this if you've been ill, had a cold or a throat infection.