Studies have shown storing your toothbrush in the bathroom could expose you to various health concerns. While there’s a lot of discourse on where you should store your toothbrush, Payal Bhalla, Principal Dentist and Clinical Director of Quest Dental has a stark warning about keeping yours next to the sink.
“Storing your toothbrush in the bathroom can potentially expose it to various hygiene concerns,” Bhalla confirms. “The level of risk can vary depending on your specific bathroom environment and habits.”
What are the risks?
When flushing the toilet with the lid open, tiny water droplets containing bacteria can go into the air and settle on nearby surfaces, including your toothbrush.
Hot showers may help to release muscle tension, but all good things come with risk. Bacteria and mould tend to thrive in humid environments, leading to the potential growth of bacteria on your toothbrush.
Living in shared bathrooms
If you live in a house-share, there’s a higher likelihood of cross-contamination, as multiple people are going to be using that bathroom, and you don’t know what people are doing in there.
It’s very possible that faecal particles are present in your bathroom, including on surfaces such as your toothbrush. How, you ask? It happens when you flush your toilet without closing the lid (as discussed above with aerosolised bacteria). Flushing can release faecal bacteria into the air and onto your toothbrush.
How do I keep my toothbrush safe?
Rinse before use
Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with tap water before using it. This can minimise potential risks and contaminants lurking on your toothbrush.
Store Upright and separated
Store your toothbrush in a holder upright to help it air dry. Also, keeping it away from other toothbrushes to avoid cross-contamination will help you in the long run.
Replace it every few months
Wondering why your toothbrush looks haggard? It’s probably time to replace it. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
Close the toilet lid
No seriously, please.
Cleaning/replacing your toothbrush, toothbrush holder, and replacing your toothbrush head (if it’s electric) is probably the best thing you can do to help avoid risk. Your faeces-free mouth will thank you.
Now that Dr. Payal Bhalla has taught us how to keep our toothbrushes clean (and how to limit risk in the future), you better believe we’re going to be implementing this into our daily lives – and keeping that toilet lid closed.