Is My Tooth Brush Clean After I Use It?

Blog #5

Some of my patients have questioned the re-use of a toothbrush and its storage between brushings. I have heard of concerns about the effects of toilet flushing on the items near-by in the bathroom. As far as I know, there has never been an infection carried by a toothbrush from toilet-flushing-air. It is definitely a good idea to close the lid before flushing. If you are still concerned about the bathroom air, store and use your toothbrush in the kitchen where hot water is easily available with the microwave. The toothbrushes I recommend are all nylon, both the handles and the bristles. After brushing rinse the brush of all toothpaste and hit it against the sink edge to dislodge any food pieces still in the bristles. If you have a layer of toothpaste left at the base of the bristles after brushing, you are using too much paste, a ‘small pea-sized’ amount of paste is enough. The toothpaste manufacturers show covering the bristles with paste. This is good for using the toothpaste up and needing to buy more, but the excess foam created masks the lack of cleanliness with the taste and smells of toothpaste. Bacteria can’t live on a dry toothbrush handle or bristles; but, a layer of paste at the bottom of the brush bristles is a good place for bacteria multiply. Remember this, it is the ends of the bristles that clean the plaque off the tooth’s surface, the tooth paste is only a medicament and a pea size is enough. So, use very little toothpaste, rinse the brush well and shake off excess water by hitting the handle against the sink’s edge. Use hot water so it dries faster and do not cover it. Toothbrushes that are covered don’t dry, become colored with mildew and smell. They can be purified by soaking in dilute liquid bleach and then rinsing thoroughly in water. Always rinse your tooth brush with very hot water so it dries faster and straightens the bristles. My patients have told me that they straighten the bristles by squeezing them between a dry towel after soaking in very hot water. Nylon tooth-brushes are reusable if used properly.

If you have any questions call my office, 310-444-9900.