Hope you're not doing anything important right now, because when you have finished reading this story, you may want to go out and buy yourself a new toothbrush. Here is the dirty truth: Your toothbrush is a breeding ground for germs. Even so, you don't need to worry (too much!) as long as you know when to replace it with a new one. EverydayHealth.com warns that as many as 10 million germs and bacteria can be found on a single toothbrush. But this is why it's not too big a cause for concern, as long as you replace your toothbrush at least once every three months: The bacteria found on a toothbrush are not the kind that make you sick. The American Dental Association, offers these tips to keep your toothbrush as clean as possible:
- After you use your toothbrush, rinse it thoroughly in tap water and then let it air dry.
- Store your toothbrush in an upright position.
- Don't worry if your toothbrush is stored near another's toothbrush. Germs are airborne and don't jump from one brush to another. One exception: If you or someone in your household has an immune deficiency, store that toothbrush away from others.
- If the idea of bacteria on your toothbrush bothers you a lot, soak your brush in alcohol to kill the germs. You can also soak it in mouthwash or a solution of half water and half hydrogen peroxide. Another option is to dip it in boiling water for five to 10 seconds. Never put your toothbrush in the dishwasher or the microwave, since it will be damaged.
- Buy a new toothbrush or brush head at least once every three months. One easy way to remember when to change your toothbrush is to change it on the first day of each new season.