Oral Health Buzz
Safe Storage for Family Toothbrushes
Wendy J. Woudstra
A toothbrush is the first defense against tooth decay and gingivitis, so it makes sense to ensure that this inexpensive tool is stored and maintained so it can do its job well. Safe storage for family toothbrushes isn't difficult or complex, but it can help keep extra germs and contaminants away from your toothbrushes and your mouth.
Get Some Air
Most families use a simple toothbrush holder to store their toothbrushes between use. This is a fine option, since it keeps the brushes in the open air where they can dry well. A closed container where the brushes don't dry quickly is a poor storage option, since microbes and bacteria grow faster in damp conditions.
A medicine cabinet can be a suitable solution, as long as there is enough air flow to allow the toothbrushes to dry quickly, and the cabinet is cleaned frequently to reduce the bacteria and microbes present inside.
Keep your toothbrush holder away from the toilet and sink. The toilet can create an aerosol effect with particles of germs wafting through the air after flushing. Those germs are definitely not something you want attached to your family's toothbrushes!
Storage for family toothbrushes should also not be placed too close to the sink, where toothbrushes can be splashed with soap and dirty water from hand washing. Find a place on your bathroom counter in a far corner, as far from the toilet and sink as possible while keeping the toothbrushes within reach.
If you have a short counter and limited space, consider a wall-mounted toothbrush holder placed far enough above the sink to prevent splashing, and at least four feet from the toilet bowl.
Make sure each member of the family has a different color or style of toothbrush so that they are easily distinguishable from each other. If you have children, sharing toys is one thing, sharing microorganisms is another. You should also ensure that your family's toothbrushes don't touch each other inside the storage container to make it more difficult for bacteria to transfer from one brush to another.
Toothbrush storage containers can become dirty and messy very quickly, so it is important to clean them frequently to prevent build-up of dust, germs and bacteria that can contaminate your family's toothbrushes. Depending on the container, cleaning them can be as simple as wiping them down with an antibacterial cleaner, or washing the container in the dishwasher
Read more about choosing the right toothbrushes at the Colgate Oral Care resources.