Sterilizing toothbrushes is important for dental hygiene. Effective methods for sanatizing include mouthwash, UV sterilizing machines, sterilizing solution or hot water and steam.
Using a properly sanitized toothbrush is an important and often overlooked aspect of healthy dental hygiene. While most people certainly know that the mouth is a breeding ground for disease producing bacteria, many probably do not realize that these germs can live on toothbrush bristles and on the handle of the brush itself. Methodically rinsing a toothbrush with water after use does little to remove bacteria. Storing a toothbrush that is moist and laden with bacteria in a cup or medicine cabinet will only further encourage the multiplying of germs. Sterilizing your toothbrush is your best defense against re-introducing bacteria into your mouth when you rub a contaminated brush across your teeth and gums. This article will explore the four most common ways to sanitize your toothbrush.
- Mouthwash – Pouring mouthwash that contains alcohol into a glass and then soaking your toothbrush between uses is an effective form of sterilization. The alcohol will kill any bacteria that may have been transmitted from your mouth to the brush and afford you a sanitized brush for each use. Be certain to use a different cup to soak each person’s toothbrush and to change the mouthwash approximately every other day.
- UV Toothbrush Sterilizer – Using the same Ultra-Violet technology used by hospitals to sterilize instruments, this type of machine can zap your toothbrush clean each and every time you use it. Powered by a UV lamp that lasts for the life of the machine, this sterilizer is either battery powered or run by a DC adapter. Compact and easy to travel, this unit can go anywhere you take your toothbrush.
- Toothbrush Sanitizing Solutions – There are products on the market the work in much the same way as the mouthwash to destroy the infestation of bacteria on a toothbrush. Sterilizing solutions in tablet form are the most popular, and once dropped into water they dissolve and clean the toothbrush that is placed into the same cup. Once again, it is advisable to disinfect only one toothbrush per cup.
- Hot Water and Steam – Some dentists and dental hygienists recommend using hot water or steam to kill the bacteria on a toothbrush. The easiest way to do this is to stick your toothbrush in the dishwasher. While the high water temperatures will kill the germs, sometimes they will damage the toothbrush bristles as well. It is important to examine the brush after running it through a cycle of the dishwasher to be sure that they are still intact and able to clean your teeth thoroughly. Another way to use hot water and steam to sterilize a toothbrush is through the purchase of a specific machine that utilizes this method. While this can be a costly appliance to purchase, it is highly effective. The patented steam action first sterilizes your toothbrush then heat dries it to prevent any re-contamination.
There are many ways to achieve a sterilized and sanitize toothbrush. From the inexpensive run through the dishwasher to machines costing more than a year’s supply of toothbrushes for a family of four, all of these methods result in the elimination of bacteria from your brush. Health care professionals have differing opinions over which sterilization method is the most effective, but all agree that sterilization is no substitute for replacing your toothbrush at least every three months and after an illness. Following these simple guidelines can help you and your family gain greater dental health.