Should You Use a Toothbrush Cover?

Most people own some form of a toothbrush cover. Some people use a toothbrush cover or case when traveling, while others cover their toothbrush daily. Either way, a cover is usually used as a way of protecting our toothbrush from outside germs and bacteria.

We all want a clean toothbrush; after all, it is something that we use in our mouth! It’s no secret that toothbrushes can harbor lots of germs, including bacteria and viruses. While mattress covers help to keep our mattress clean, it seems logical that a toothbrush cover would keep a toothbrush clean. Read on to find out what dentists think about toothbrush covers!

What Does A Toothbrush Cover Do?

Logically, a toothbrush cover seems to help keep a toothbrush away from outside germs, but before we go too far, we must address what a cover does for the germs on the toothbrush. Every time you brush, your toothbrush is introduced to the bacteria in your mouth. This is normal as we all have bacteria. A toothbrush cover is a problem because it creates a dark, moist environment for optimum bacterial growth. A toothbrush cover doesn’t allow your toothbrush to dry out, and thus it becomes a breeding ground for germs.

If we want to address the outside germs in the bathroom, we need to address the toilet. When a toilet is flushed, it has the potential to move germs 6 feet. Yuck! So yes, it is possible that poop germs can land on your toothbrush if it is within 6 feet of the toilet. Rather than covering our toothbrush and creating another germ problem, we can eliminate this toilet problem by putting the toilet seat down before flushing.

How To Best Care For Your Toothbrush

There are many better options for your oral health than using a toothbrush cover. These few tips will help make sure your toothbrush stays as clean and as effective as possible for you and your family.

  • Ensure everyone in your household has their own toothbrush, as sharing a toothbrush will also mean that you are sharing germs.
  • Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with hot water after use. Be sure to rinse off all toothpaste and any visible debris.
  • Let your toothbrush sit upright and uncovered so that it can dry thoroughly.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you are sick.

Must I Sanitize My Toothbrush Between Uses?

Most healthy people should not need to sanitize their toothbrushes between uses. Sanitizing a toothbrush can be done, but it takes extra cost and effort as sanitization requires extra gadgets and solutions. Just like a dishwasher, sanitizing won’t altogether remove 100% of the germs either. If you are a healthy person with a good immune system, allowing your toothbrush to dry out between uses is sufficient. Our bodies can handle some bacteria. It’s just when the balance of good and bad bacteria gets off that we run into problems. The best thing to do is to throw away your toothbrush cover and follow the best care tips listed above for your toothbrush.

If you do find yourself with a compromised immune system or that you are at higher risk for infections, you could take these additional precautions:

  • Replace your toothbrush every two months.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse on your toothbrush.
  • Use a sanitizer that is FDA-approved.

So are you going to use a toothbrush cover? We hope not! Keeping up with routine cleanings, practicing good homecare, switching out your toothbrush every 3-4 months, and maintaining a clean bathroom are the best ways to keep germs at bay. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Riverside Dental if you have any other questions about your oral health!

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