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Tips for a healthy toothbrush…and happy mouth

Shocked woman and toothbrush

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.

Toothbrush being soaked in white vinegar

Here's some hygiene tips for your toothbrush:

  1. Don't brush where you flush! Every time you flush the toilet, bacteria are released into the air that then land on surfaces nearby
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. If you use a toothbrush holder, make sure the head faces up and exposed to fresh air. Clean it out regularly
  5. NEVER share toothbrushes and don't let different peoples' brushes touch
  6. 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.

9 thoughts on “Tips for a healthy toothbrush…and happy mouth

    1. Hi Carole – that is of course an option, but white vinegar is cheaper and of course a foodstuff in itself. Sterilising fluid is sodium hypochlorite (bleach) so do make sure you are rinsing the brush very thoroughly.

  1. I leave my tooth brushes in my kitchen, that way my children cannot try to get away without cleaning lol!! its the only other place with a sink and no toilet and easy to clean the sink afterwards, they also have a steripod cover on them which keep them germ free for 3 months but I was told by my gran to soak them in vinegar once a week so been doing it a while.

  2. Many thanks for this information, not read it anywhere else, we will definitely change to using these tips from now on. The bit about ‘don’t brush where you flush!’ is news to me, and it is so obvious that I am gobsmacked not to have realised it before! Cheers team, and best wishes.

  3. Thanks for this info, however as mine & many others have a bathroom containing a toilet, it’s impossible to brush my teeth anywhere else, so what do you suggest. ?

    1. Hi Jan – it’s a good point and I think the answer is to be pragmatic. if possible, try not to have the toothbrush right next to the toilet. If there’s a cabinet, keep it in there. As well as bugs, there could also be flies landing on your toothbrush, so it’s a good idea to rinse it with water before applying the toothpaste.

  4. Very useful advice on keeping toothbrushes clean.
    I’ve been leaving mine in bicarb of soda but I will try white vinegar.

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