University of Florida

Keep It Clean: Toothbrushes

While toothbrushes are supposed to clean your teeth, they also need some cleaning themselves. In fact, your toothbrush could be covered in millions of bacteria—some harmless but some not, including the flu, E. coli, and fecal matter.

Keep your teeth and your toothbrush clean to avoid getting sick or spreading an illness to someone else. 

Tips for Toothbrush Care

  • Wash your hands before and after brushing.
  • Prevent the spread of infectious diseases by not sharing your toothbrush.  
  • After brushing, let your toothbrush air dry in an upright position.
  • Rinse your toothbrush with running water before and after brushing to remove any bacteria or debris.
  • Avoid storing toothbrushes near one another.
  • Do not cover or keep your toothbrush in a shut container—a damp environment is more likely to cause bacterial growth.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles become frayed.
  • Buy a new toothbrush after being sick.
  • Do not try to clean your toothbrush using a dishwasher or microwave.

By following these easy tips, you can ensure your pearly whites stay shiny and your toothbrush stays clean.

Excerpted and adapted from:

Can your toothbrush make you sick?” University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Accessed 08/2014).

The Use and Handling of Toothbrushes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (rev. 07/2013).

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