If you really want to be grossed out, go get a black light and go into your bathroom. Turn out the lights and turn on the black light. Grab your toothbrush or wave the black light around where your toothbrush sits. The black light will illuminate the millions of germs and bacteria that are living on your toothbrush that you put in your mouth every day.
There are numerous studies that link our overall health with our oral health. Gum disease in its most severe state has been linked with diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even premature birth. On average there are about 10 million bacteria thriving on your toothbrush any given day. The viruses that cause the flu and colds can live for days on your toothbrush. If you share your toothbrush you have a good chance of catching whatever your partner has through cross contamination. Cross contamination can even occur with multiple toothbrushes in a toothbrush holder. The number of ailments that you can contract or re-contract from your toothbrush is staggering. The bathroom is also full of other nasty surprises.
Every time you flush your toilet, small particles of the toilet water are propelled into the air, where they can spread to the rest of your bathroom, even your toothbrush. I'm very happy that my toilet isn’t near my sink. The bathroom is also usually a humid and moist environment, the perfect breeding ground for mildew, mold and bacteria to grow. The bathroom is often an interior room, while good for tornados; the darkness is an ideal area for the bacteria and germs to grow and multiply.
The American Dental Association and is members recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. On average, American’s only change their toothbrush every 6 months. That is a long time for nasty stuff to grow on your toothbrush. There are a number of new devices that claim to sanitize your toothbrush. We will look at a few of those, but we will also provide several homemade alternatives to keep your toothbrush sanitized.
Most of the sanitizing devices available today use ultra-violet or UV light to kill the germs. UV light has been shown to be up to 99.9% effective at killing germs and viruses. Steam is also a popular sanitizer used in toothbrush sanitizers.
VIOlight is a popular toothbrush sanitizer maker that has several models. All of the models use UV light to kill germs. Several models are available in all shapes and sizes, with designs meant to be left out on your bathroom counter. VIOlight claims that their toothbrush sanitizers are clinically proven to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria on your toothbrush.
Zapi UV Toothbrush Sanitizer
The Zapi is a low cost battery operated device that uses UV light to kill germs. It is small enough to leave out on your bathroom counter. Just a quick press of the cleaning button will sanitize your toothbrush in around 7 minutes. It is designed to only sanitize the bristles.
VIOlight Toothbrush Sanitizer Counter Unit
VIOlight Counter Unit also works with Ultra Violet light to destroy the germs. It can hold up to four brushes and takes about 10 minutes to sanitize the bristles.
Germ Terminator Toothbrush Sanitizer
The Germ Terminator is a steam powered unit that sanitizes the entire tooth brush. It uses the same steam technology as the professional sanitizers dentists use.
Homemade Toothbrush Cleaner
There are several ways you can sanitize your toothbrush without the use of machines. The ADA recommends that you let your toothbrush air dry between uses. That doesn't really cut it for me, so I have found a few ways to get the job done easily and quickly. One method is to keep a small squirt bottle full of hydrogen peroxide or Listerine. After you brush your teeth, just squirt a liberal amount over your entire toothbrush. Both Listerine and hydrogen peroxide are great disinfectants. For those of you who want to disinfect your toothbrush less often you can use a steam cleaning machine like the Scunci Steamer to sanitize your toothbrush.
The most important thing to take away from this article is the knowledge that germs are easily spread on your toothbrush. If you get a cold or the flu, throw away your toothbrush so as not to re-infect yourself a week later. Following these easy steps will help protect yourself and your family and might just make you a little healthier.