Keeping Your Toothbrush Clean

Keep Your Toothbrush Clean and Sanitary

When you brush your teeth, you’re main concern is, of course, removing food debris and plaque from your teeth. But your mouth is full of bacteria (including those found in plaque), much of which ends up on your toothbrush. It is also important to keep your toothbrush clean to prevent the spread of germs.

According to the American Dental Association, studies show that microorganisms can grow on your toothbrush, but no hard evidence has shown that bacterial growth on toothbrushes can cause specific health problems. Evidence is also lacking to prove that using an antibacterial mouth rinse or commercial sanitizer will clean your toothbrush.

But keeping your toothbrush as sanitary as possible will help keep your teeth clean and healthy. The ADA offers some tips for keeping your toothbrush clean:

  • Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water after you use it to remove toothpaste, plaque, and food debris.
  • Store your toothbrush in an upright position whenever possible and let it air dry. Don’t use a toothbrush cover, because it will hold moisture in, which promotes bacterial growth.
  • Just as you wouldn’t share your toothbrush, do not store it next to other toothbrushes. When the brushes touch, they transfer bacteria to each other.
  • Change your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles fray or if you’ve been sick. This will also keep the toothbrush more effective.
  • Run it through the dishwasher occasionally

Toothbrushes should be left out in the open

Many dentists will recommend that you store your toothbrush in a holder of some sort, and keep it out in the open. After brushing, keep your toothbrush clean by rinsing your toothbrush with water to remove debris and then placing the brush in an upright position, allowing for the bristles to dry. It is also advised that you store your toothbrush away from other toothbrushes, to avoid cross-contamination. Dentists also recommend storing your toothbrush in a cool and dry place, as moist areas tend to breed bacteria.

Don’t share your toothbrush

Sharing a snack with a friend, or advice is always good, but not when it comes to toothbrushes. Never invite friends or family members to use your toothbrush. When you share a toothbrush, you are also sharing germs, bacteria and other conditions that may jeopardize your health and well being. Keep your toothbrush clean and do not share your toothbrush with anyone, not even your spouse or child.


Dr. James Fondriest, a Chicago dentist, will help you care for other aspects of your dental health, like dental checkups, cleanings, and restorations for decayed or broken teeth. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fondriest, call us today at 847.234.0517 today. Dr. Fondriest provides general and cosmetic dental procedures to patients in Lake Forest, IL, the North Shore, and the greater Chicago area.