With a basic Google search of this question, you will find many opinionated answers. Leaving it soaking in a solution or buying a special UV light disinfecting machine are two common opinions on how to sanitize your toothbrush. The human mouth does, after all, contain several hundred different bacterial species. These only begin to give reason as to why cleanliness is essential for the health of your teeth and gums. Most of the bacteria in your mouth are, in fact, good and supposed to be there. They keep the bad bacteria in check and your teeth and gums in an overall, healthy state.
How Dirty If Your Toothbrush
Since the normal place to brush your teeth is in the bathroom, that is typically where the toothbrush lives. Most people will keep it on or near the back of the sink which is, in most cases, close to the toilet. When you flush your toilet, tiny particles float into the air. The possibility an exposed toothbrush gets hit with these microscopic droplets is high. Similarly, moisture from the steam of a hot shower is an advantage to bacteria growth on a toothbrush. It is also interesting to know that bacteria thrive and multiply in darkness. One New York study determined that one used toothbrush could be the home to over a million bacteria. Staph bacteria, E. coli, yeast fungus, the flu, and strep virus, were only a few of the germs found on 70% of the toothbrushes.
This information could lead one to believe sanitizing your toothbrush is a good idea. But there is no evidence that it even makes a difference. Rinsing the toothbrush thoroughly with very hot water will suffice. Soaking it in hydrogen peroxide or mouthwash for a short time will kill some of the bacteria as well. This is important to those who are immune-compromised or more susceptible to getting sick.
We recommend you buy a brand-new toothbrush every 3 months or so. Besides brushing twice daily, it is also important to have an annual cleaning and exam to keep your mouth totally clean. If you haven't already, we recommend you schedule yours today.