Toothbrush Upkeep 101

Your toothbrush spends around four minutes a day in your mouth, so you need to make sure it’s clean and stored properly between use, and know when to retire it. Dr. Bruce Spink of Birmingham, AL would like to give you a crash course in toothbrush upkeep so you can keep your smile healthy.


Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water when you’re done brushing. Leaving toothpaste residue (and probably more with it) behind means that all that is going in your mouth next time you use it. Rinsing your brush gets rid of the toothpaste and whatever you brushed off of your teeth Store your toothbrush upright and in the open to allow it to air dry. This allows the excess water to dry off so you won’t get mildew or bacteria growth on your toothbrush. Also, most bacteria die when exposed to air, so leaving the brush out to dry kills them off! Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or every six months at the absolute latest.  A good way to remind yourself is to buy a new toothbrush is to pick one up when you go see your dentist for your next routine cleaning. If you notice bristles coming off, bending, or fraying, those are signs that it’s time to replace your brush.


Don’t share toothbrushes. Sharing toothbrushes allows for the transfer of bacteria from one person to another, risking not only your oral health, but the other person’s as well. Don’t sanitize the toothbrush in mouthwash or other sanitizing agents. This isn’t necessary and could even be toxic to you. Allowing the brush to air dry should be sufficient to kill most bacteria. Don’t store it in a closed container. While you may have heard that toothbrushes can catch bacteria from toilets when they flush, don’t store them in closed containers eithers. This closed environment acts as a hothouse, allowing bacteria to thrive on a moist toothbrush, which could be harmful to your mouth. That being said, don’t store your toothbrush too close to the toilet. Germs can indeed go airborne after you flush and land on the toothbrush. Try to store it far away from the toilet where but also somewhere it is still able to air dry. Toothbrushes don’t need special cleaning in order to keep them safe to use. Simply rinsing them clean after use and allowing them to air dry is enough to keep your smile clean and healthy – just make sure you replace them regularly. For a consultation with Dr. Spink to help you make sure you’re taking the best care of your smile, call 205.235.5043 or schedule online.