You probably use your toothbrush every day to scrub plaque and bacteria off the surface of your teeth and tongue.
While your mouth is left much cleaner after a thorough brushing, your toothbrush now carries the germs and residue from your mouth.
Your toothbrush is also probably stored in the bathroom, where bacteria can linger in the air.
This article will cover ways you can disinfect your toothbrush to make sure it’s clean and safe to use every time.
There are several methods of disinfecting your toothbrush between uses. Some are more effective than others.
Run hot water over it before and after each use
The most basic go-to method of sanitizing your toothbrush is to run hot water over the bristles before and after each use.
This gets rid of bacteria that may have collected on the toothbrush in the hours between brushings. It also eliminates new bacteria which may have accumulated after each use.
For most people, clean, hot water is enough to sanitize a toothbrush between uses.
Before applying toothpaste, run hot water gently over the head of your toothbrush. The water should be hot enough to produce steam.
After you’ve brushed your teeth and mouth thoroughly, rinse your brush with more hot water.
Soak it in antibacterial mouthwash
If a hot water rinse isn’t enough to give you peace of mind, you can soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash.
Keep in mind that doing this may wear out your toothbrush faster, as these mouthwashes usually contain harsh ingredients that make bristles break down.
This method involves letting your toothbrush sit, head down, in a small cup of mouthwash for about 2 minutes after each brushing.
Should you be boiling toothbrushes?
You don’t need to boil your toothbrush to get it clean enough to use, and the plastic handle of most toothbrushes might start to melt in boiling water.
If you still want to use boiling water, heat water in a tea kettle or in a pot on your stove. Once it boils, turn the heat off and dip your toothbrush in for 30 seconds or so.
In addition to hot water and mouthwash, you can use denture cleansing solution to disinfect your toothbrush.
Denture cleanser is made up of antimicrobial ingredients that target bacteria and plaque that grow in your mouth.
Don’t reuse denture cleanser you’ve already used on your dentures.
Dissolve half a cleansing tablet in a cup of water and dip your toothbrush in it for 90 seconds to get your brush extra clean.
UV toothbrush sanitizer
You can also invest in an ultraviolet (UV) light sanitizer product made specially for toothbrushes.
One studyTrusted Source comparing UV light chambers made for toothbrushes with saline solution and chlorhexidine gluconate solution found that UV light was the most effective way to disinfect toothbrushes.
This equipment can be on the expensive side, and it’s not necessary to have one for safe brushing. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for whatever UV sanitizer you purchase.
Note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source doesn’t say that you need to use a UV chamber to clean your toothbrush.