Can Your Toothbrush Make You Sick?

teethbrushbw3One uncovered toothbrush can harbor more than 100 million bacteria, including E. coli and staphylococci bacteria. There are hundreds of microorganisms inhabiting our mouths every day, so we put bacteria on our toothbrushes every time we brush our teeth.

Fortunately, our body’s natural defenses make it highly unlikely that we will catch an infection simply from brushing our teeth; problems only occur when there is an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers the following regimen for toothbrush care that is sufficient to remove most microorganisms from your toothbrush and limit the spread of disease:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after brushing or flossing. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with warm water; store it upright to dry.
  • Use a completely dry toothbrush. Ideally, you should have two toothbrushes to give ample time (24 hours) for it to dry out in between uses.
  • Don’t cover your toothbrush or place it in a closed container until it is completely dry. A moist environment can foster bacterial growth.
  • Don’t share a toothbrush with anyone. Don’t even store your toothbrush side-by-side in the same cup with other people’s brushes.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months. Worn out toothbrushes become less effective at cleaning teeth.
  • Always replace your toothbrush after a cold or other illness to prevent contamination.
  • If you or someone else in your family is sick, that person should use a different tube of toothpaste to prevent spreading germs to other toothbrushes.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Give our office a call at (248) 362-4330 and be sure to visit our website at:

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