Have you ever looked at your toothbrush under a microscope?
I have, and it’s pretty freaky when you see all the little goobers clinging to the bristles.
Bottom line, a toothbrush is a great place for bad bugs to hang out, just waiting for another chance to recolonize your mouth.
What’s required to stop your toothbrush from being a petri dish to grow bad bugs is to simply understand what environment these bad bugs need in order to thrive. By removing one or more of the conditions bad bugs need to survive, we can have the comfort to know that our toothbrushes are not acting as petri dishes.
The good news is it’s really simple to clean your toothbrush and keep it free from bad bugs without having to spend any money on one of those new fangled toothbrush sanitizers.
Here are three simple strategies to make sure your toothbrush is germ free.
Getting to know bad bugs…
The bacteria implicated with gum disease are called gram negative bacteria. They are anaerobic, which simply means that they thrive in low oxygen environments.
If we had to describe the perfect zone for bad bugs, it would be a warm, dark, moist, low oxygen environment. This is why bad bugs grow so well in gum pockets.
Knowing this, we can easily remove one or more of the conditions necessary for them to live to stop our toothbrush from being a bad bug safe haven.
How to keep your toothbrush germ free…
I commonly apply two different strategies to clean my toothbrushes.
1. Let your toothbrush fully dry out between brushings.
In order to really allow your toothbrush to fully dry out before you use it again, you need to have more than one brush that you rotate through.
When we have friends come for a visit (as you can imagine, when you live in Hawaii friends thankfully do like to come visit), we often get the question “Why do you guys have so many toothbrushes in your bathroom?”
Having several of our awesome Bass brushes in the bathroom to rotate through allows any one brush to fully dry out before being used again. Since bad bugs require a moist zone, allowing the brush to fully dry helps to lower the risk of bad bugs living on your brush.
(As a side note, we recently created 3 and 5 pack bundles of our awesome Bass toothbrushes for those of you wanting to pick up quantities with a discount. You can check them out here. And if you aren’t familiar with our awesome brushes, click here to learn the story of Dr Bass and watch a video how to use the Bass brushes.)
2. Give your brush a sunbath.
Sunlight is a powerful cleaner/disinfectant. Setting your brush on a sunny window sill for the day will not only allow it to fully dry (point 1 above) but will also take advantage of the natural disinfecting power of natural sunlight.
The best part about this strategy is it’s free and doesn’t require that you purchase one of those fancy ‘brush sanitizers’ and wonder if it’s doing its job to clean your brush.
You may have recently read an article where I recently ‘came out of the closet’ about my ‘brushing while driving’ habit. Keeping a brush in our cars (I actually have three in one car! :)) allows me to rotate brushes AND allow them to bake in a warm car to fully dry and get sunlight.
3. Soak the bristles in hydrogen peroxide overnight.
Here’s a third simple way for anyone who doesn’t have a sunny window sill and only has one brush to keep it free from bad bugs.
Just put a bit of peroxide (3% is fine) in a small glass and put the brush ‘bristles down’ in the peroxide overnight. Peroxide is a very oxygen rich environment. So, although it’s moist, peroxide does a very good job in robbing these ‘low oxygen environment loving’ bad bugs from a major condition they need to survive.
But never in the dishwasher or microwave…
One more note, never try to clean your toothbrush by putting it in the dishwasher or microwave. The high temps will damage the brush and risk damaging your dishwasher/microwave.
How about you? What do you do to keep your brush ‘bad bug’ free? Please share so we can all continue to learn from one another.
Keep on shining your Light!