Where do you store your toothbrush? If the answer is in your bathroom, you might want to think again.
Cleaning your teeth and keeping on top of your dental care means your mouth and gums will be healthier, hygienic, whiter and fresher. But regardless of whether you use the best electric toothbrush or a manual brush, where you store it could be messing with your dental hygiene.
According to Dr Payal Bhalla, Principal Dentist and Clinical Director of Quest Dental, “storing your toothbrush in the bathroom can potentially expose it to various hygiene concerns.” Here’s three reasons why you should never leave your toothbrush in the bathroom and where you should actually store it.
Why you shouldn’t store your toothbrush in the bathroom
Even if you regularly clean and take care of your bathroom, there will always be bacteria lying on the surfaces. The bathroom is where you shower, wash your face, use the toilet and clean your teeth, so bacteria will be present, especially aerosolized bacteria. Dr Bhalla says, “when you flush the toilet, tiny water droplets containing bacteria and other microorganisms can become aerosolized and settle on nearby surfaces, including your toothbrush.” This isn’t particularly hygienic and could make you sick.
2. Proximity to the toilet
Regardless of the layout of your bathroom, chances are your sink and toilet are in the same room and in proximity to each other. If your toothbrush is placed close to the toilet, “it’s more likely to come into contact with airborne particles and water splashes, potentially leading to contamination,” Dr Bhalla states. To minimise bathroom particles coming into contact with your toothbrush, Dr Bhalla says to “rinse your toothbrush before use, store it upright, use a toothbrush cover, and close the toilet lid when flushing”.
Bathrooms tend to be quite humid environments, especially if your bathroom doesn’t have a window. Having your toothbrush sitting in an overly humid room can “promote the growth of bacteria and mould” which can make you sick and spread infections if you put the brush in your mouth. If you use a holder for your toothbrush, you should also remember to rinse it out regularly as the water that drips down your brush and collects at the bottom of the cup can also grow mould.
Where should you store your toothbrush?
So, if you can’t keep your toothbrush in the bathroom, where should you store it? Dr Bhalla recommends storing your toothbrush “in a dry area outside of the bathroom, such as a bedroom or cabinet. If you must store it in the bathroom, keep it as far away from the toilet as possible to reduce the risk of contamination.” Dr Bhalla also mentions storing your brush upright to allow it to air dry properly and to make sure it doesn’t touch other brushes to prevent cross-contamination.
To ensure your toothbrush stays clean and hygienic, remember to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly before and after use, use a toothbrush cover and replace your brush regularly, ideally every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are chewed or frayed.
Want more dental tips? Check you’re not making these 7 mistakes everyone makes with electric toothbrushes.