The Sickening Truth About Your Toothbrush

Do you remember the last time you switched your toothbrush for a new one? No? Well, you should know ten million types of bacteria are crawling on your toothbrush right this second, including (but not limited to):

With that said, we can’t stress enough the importance of changing your toothbrush to your general health.

How Often You Should Change Your ToothbrushThe Sickening Truth About Your Toothbrush

If you don’t remember when you bought your current toothbrush, it’s probably long overdue of a replacement. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends changing your toothbrush every three to four months. Refraining from doing so allows harmful bacteria to enter your mouth, not to mention an old toothbrush is less effective in removing plaque and tartar.

What Happens When You Don’t Change Your Toothbrush

With 10 million bacteria living on the bristles of your toothbrush, you increase your risk of:

1. Ingesting gross substances, including fecal matter

Every time you flush, minuscule water droplets can make their way to your bristles, which is why it’s important to keep your toothbrush at least six feet away from where you do your business.

A review published in the Journal of Advanced Medical and Dental Science Research states that fecal matter contaminates about 60 percent of toothbrushes stored in a shared bathroom. What’s even more off-putting is that in 8 out of 10 cases, that fecal matter is not yours.

The best way to limit your toothbrush your harboring bacteria is to store it appropriately, and by closing the lid of your toilet before flushing. Additionally, here are a few other tips to keep your brush as germ-free as possible:

  • Keep it to yourself. No matter how close you are to your significant other, do not in under any circumstance use their toothbrush. You shouldn’t even store your toothbrush side-by-side because they can easily swap germs. If you share a bathroom, make sure there is a significant distance between yours and your family members’ brushes.
  • Keep it rinsed. Wash the bristles of your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water every time you use it.
  • Keep it dry. Since bacteria love moist environments the most, let your brush dry thoroughly between brushings. You should also avoid covering your toothbrush immediately after brushing since it can create a moist, enclosed breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Keep it upright. Store your toothbrush upright rather than lying down.

2. Developing bad breath

If you use a bacteria-infested toothbrush to “clean” your teeth, the only thing you guarantee is a dirtier mouth, and a dirty mouth does not smell minty fresh. While there are dozens of gadgets claiming to disinfect your toothbrush, very few works as well as they claim. If you must use your toothbrush one last time, your best bet, according to research published in the American Journal of Dentistry, is to soak it in mouthwash for 20 minutes before use.

A Final Word

There are several tips you can follow to disinfect your toothbrush and ensure that it does its job of cleaning your teeth. However, prolonging your toothbrush use beyond the recommended three to four months is still strongly discouraged.


For dental health concerns, call Kyrene Family Dentistry at 480-705-9005. We are a family-operated facility offering a wide array of dental services in Chandler, Arizona. We look forward to improving and strengthening your smile.