Are There Germs on My Toothbrush?

Toothbrush Germs West Columbus Dentist

Are There Germs on My Toothbrush?

Toothbrush Germs West Columbus Dentist

With around 700 different species of bacteria living in your mouth, it makes sense that some would end up on your toothbrush after brushing. But the germ exposure doesn’t end there. Your toothbrush can also be exposed to germs floating around in the air, especially those that come from flushing the toilet. Research has shown that an uncovered toothbrush can have over 100 million bacteria on the bristles. Despite all of this, our Columbus, OH, dentist doesn’t want you to panic.

Keep reading to learn more about whether these bacteria are dangerous to your health and what you can do to keep your toothbrush in good shape.

Toothbrush Germs: What Can They Do?

Bacteria on a toothbrush can easily be transferred to your mouth when you go to brush your teeth. Even though having bacteria in your mouth and body is normal and considered healthy, you can run into problems when the balance of bacteria is off and there are more harmful than helpful types. The bacteria deemed harmful can weaken your enamel, create cavities, and cause tooth decay.

There are a few ways to disinfect a toothbrush, though it’s up to you whether you want to move forward with these processes or not. For example, you can use UV sanitizers, hydrogen peroxide solutions, or denture cleaners. Just be sure you don’t place your toothbrush in the dishwasher or microwave (yes, really) as the heat can cause damage.

Can Your Toothbrush Make You Sick?

You’ve probably been told to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick, but this isn’t really necessary. It’s highly unlikely that you would re-catch a cold from your toothbrush because your body has already fought off that strain of bacteria. You can, however, become ill from using a sick person’s toothbrush.

The American Dental Association (ADA) says you shouldn’t worry too much about germs on your toothbrush since our bodies are built to fight off bacteria. While most people won’t get sick from their contaminated toothbrushes, it is possible to get a gastrointestinal illness from the germs that land on your toothbrush after, say, flushing the toilet.

Caring For and Replacing Your Toothbrush

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to avoid the issues that germs on your toothbrush can cause. It’s important that you:

  • Don’t share toothbrushes. It’s much easier to get sick when using someone else’s toothbrush. Invest in your own toothbrush and stick to that.
  • Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet. When you flush the toilet, millions of bacteria fly into the air and land on surfaces in your bathroom. Keep your toothbrush far from the toilet and close the lid before flushing to avoid harmful germs.
  • Don’t store your toothbrush in containers. Your toothbrush needs to air dry in order to avoid developing harmful mold and bacteria.
  • Rinse your toothbrush after every use. Rinsing your toothbrush with water after brushing as well as occasionally soaking it in peroxide can keep the bacteria on your toothbrush at bay.
  • Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. When the bristles become worn or frayed, it may be time to swap out toothbrushes.

In most cases, the germs on your toothbrush aren’t very harmful. But it’s always a good idea to take extra precaution just in case. Come in to see Dr. Gibson every 6 months for regular dental visits in addition to your at-home oral care routine to have your teeth professionally cleaned and checked for any arising issues.

Make an Appointment

Finding out you have a not insignificant amount of germs living in your mouth and on your toothbrush can be disconcerting. Fortunately, you can breathe deeply a few times and take solace in the fact that the majority are harmless. Changing out your toothbrush every few months and receiving cleanings from our dentist in Columbus, OH, will put you and your smile in a good position. Call Gibson Dental today at (614) 878-9562 to request an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.