Keep It Clean
You may not give much thought to cleaning your toothbrush, since you’re wetting it every day to scrub your teeth. However, it’s important — and easy — to do.
Wash it. Give your toothbrush a thorough rinse with tap water to remove debris. If you have a systemic illness or immune disorder, you may want to soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher.
Try deep cleaning. There are many types of toothbrush sanitizers on the market. Some use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.
Store it properly. After use, don’t pop that wet toothbrush back into your medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom cup and forget about it.
Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out. Look for a cover that lets air circulate and prevents mold, but isn’t completely sealed. The lack of air can foster bacteria.
When to Call It Quits
How long should you keep a toothbrush to prevent the ick from building up? Here are a few useful tips:
Know when to let go. Replace your toothbrush about every 3 to 4 months, or when it shows signs of wear. “Frayed bristles will not clean the teeth and gums adequately.
Toss toothbrushes after illness. Throw away a brush you or anyone in your home used while sick.
Yes, that means all toothbrushes. Treat electric or power models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one. Chuck the brush attachment after an illness or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear.
Tempted to lend a toothbrush to a family member? Don’t.
Toothbrush sharing can transfer saliva and bacteria — even the kind that cause tooth decay. “Tooth decay is considered an infectious disease … one more reason not to share or borrow a toothbrush.