While most people know they should be brushing two times per day to keep up fantastic oral health, they may not know how important it is to take care of their toothbrushes, too. Toothbrushes remove plaque and other soft debris from your teeth, which means they can become contaminated with bacteria, blood, saliva and much more. Due to this contamination, it’s a good idea to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with water each time after you brush.

In addition to taking care of your toothbrush by rinsing after each use, here are six more ways you can take better care of your toothbrush:

  • Don’t share your toothbrush. Sharing puts you at a greater risk for infections due to the exchange of bodily fluids.
  • After brushing, rinse your toothbrush well with water to ensure that you remove toothpaste and debris. Allow the brush to air-dry, and store it in an upright position; don’t allow brushes to contact each other if they’re stored in the same toothbrush holder.
  • You don’t need to soak your toothbrush in a disinfectant solution. In fact, doing this may lead to cross-contamination of toothbrushes if you use the same solution as another family member or use the same solution over time.
  • Dishwashers, microwaves, and ultraviolet devices are unnecessary in the effort to disinfect toothbrushes as these practices may damage the toothbrush.
  • Don’t cover your toothbrush or store it in a closed container. Humid environments are more conducive to bacterial growth.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles are worn. The loss of mechanical effectiveness comes as a result of expected wear of your toothbrush.

Source: CDC.gov, “The use and handling of toothbrushes.”