Two brushes in the glass brush holders

How to Store Your Toothbrush Safely

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Toothbrushes need to be maintained so they can remove plaque to help keep teeth and gums healthy. Toothbrush storage is vital for maintaining cleanliness for your oral care. Read these tips for storing your toothbrush at home and while traveling so that your toothbrush can work hard to help you keep your mouth healthy.

Use holders made for toothbrushes

The best way to store your toothbrush is to use a holder made for this purpose. Do not use random household items like plastic bags, pieces of toilet paper, or foil. Toothbrush holders will have air holes to ensure proper drying, and they will not damage the bristles as makeshift covers do.

Let your toothbrush dry completely

Air is essential for toothbrushes. You may assume that keeping tight covers on your toothbrushes or hiding them away in a cabinet or drawer keeps them away from bacteria. However, if there isn't enough air to dry your toothbrush, it may grow more bacteria stored in a damp area. Cabinets or drawers can be good places to store them as long as there is enough air to dry it after use.

How to store toothbrush when traveling

Before you go on a trip, invest in a travel toothbrush cap or a portable holder to keep the toothbrush head protected from other items in your travel bag. However, don't store the toothbrush forever like this. A toothbrush builds up bacteria even if it isn't used frequently. Every toothbrush, travel or not, needs to be replaced every three months.

Where should you keep your toothbrush holder?

Keep your toothbrush holder away from the toilet and sink. Did you know that flushing the toilet can create an aerosol effect, spraying germs through the air? Shutting the toilet lid can help, but keeping toothbrushes as far away from the toilet as possible can reduce the amount of bacteria that may land on them.

Keeping toothbrushes away from the sink can also keep them more sanitary. When you use the sink to wash, water, soap, and bacteria can splash on your toothbrushes. Find a good place away from the toilet and as far away from splashing water as you can. You can invest in a wall-mounted toothbrush holder or a holder with a lid (as long as there is enough airflow to dry the toothbrush!) or use the medicine cabinet.

Don't share toothbrushes

Ensure that each family member has their unique toothbrush, so you don't mistake another toothbrush for yours! Even toothbrushes that are cleaned frequently shouldn't be used among multiple people because it increases infection risk. Store toothbrushes away from each other too, so bacteria can't spread across toothbrushes.

Clean your toothbrush holder frequently

Clean your toothbrush and your toothbrush holder frequently. Regularly cleaning them will clear your items from dust, germs, and dried toothpaste. Depending on the holder, you could put it in the dishwasher, wipe-down with sanitizing wipes, or use soap and water.

Remember keeping your toothbrush clean helps your oral care as well. The most sanitary way to store your toothbrush is to keep the toothbrush in a clean holder where airflow can dry the toothbrush. Yet, it won't be contaminated by bathroom germs. Maintaining your toothbrush, storing it in a sanitary way, and cleaning your toothbrush's holder will prevent bacteria buildup and won't damage the bristles.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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