Aside from being taught at a young age to brush our teeth, nobody actually has taken the time to teach us what to do before and after the actual brushing occurs. Oftentimes considered as the least important member of the vanity cabinet, the toothbrush usually just has 3 stages in its day to day use: 1) get from cabinet, 2) brush teeth, 3) return to cabinet. A recent study however has shed some light on how we should properly store and handle our toothbrush, and to be honest, you may have been doing things wrong all this time.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you must take note of the suggestions below, in order to properly ensure that our toothbrush stays clean and free from germs.
- When storing your toothbrush, try to leave it in an upright position, and not just laying it down flat on the sink or inside your medicine cabinet.
By keeping it vertical, excess water particles stored in the bristles of the toothbrush are forced to drip down, and away from your brush. Whereas laying it down on its side will just make the water pool either in the middle of the brush or on the side where the bristles are touching the surface. These pools of water are perfect for bacteria, and we don't want that. It is suggested that you utilize some of the vertical toothbrush stands which you can get from the mall.
- It's not enough that you have a vertical stand, but it is also advised to consider the distance of your toothbrush from the toilet.
Studies have shown that certain water flushes can actually spray up water particles which, if close enough, could potentially end up reaching your toothbrush. These microorganisms are dangerous and could cause bacteria to grow in your toothbrush. One thing to counteract this is to try and get a wall-mounted vertical toothbrush stand, so that you can place it as far as possible (but still practically near the sink) from your toilet.
- Do not store your toothbrush inside your medicine cabinet. Bacteria tends to thrive in dark and cold places, and your medicine cabinet offers just that.
According to the ADA, it's best to find a storage place for your toothbrush where it can be exposed to light and air. It is preferred that your toothbrush be dried out naturally through these two elements, before your next brush. Microorganisms are more likely to grow in the dark and moist areas, like your cabinet, compared to being allowed to be stored in an open area.
As with everything, nothing lasts forever, so even if it's your favorite toothbrush, it is still highly suggested that you change it out for a new one every 3 to 4 months, or when the bristles start to feel a little bit overused. As it turns out, toothbrush care is not as easy as 1-2-3, but if you try to keep in mind the tips that have been mentioned above, then you can keep your toothbrush as clean as it can be.