Use A Toothbrush Cover? We Have Some Health News For You

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Then came the news that you have to wait way longer after using mouthwash before eating than I’d ever expected.

And now, another blow to my dental routine ― it turns out that actually, toothbrush caps can make bacteria worse, not better.


Though ― and I hate telling you this as much as you’ll hate hearing it ― your bathroom does actually contain poo particles, apparently a cover is its own bacteria breeding ground.

The American Dental Association (ADA) writes, “Don’t routinely cover or store toothbrushes in closed containers. A moist environment helps the growth of most germs.”

The ADA isn’t alone. Speaking to Self, Mia L. Geisinger, D.D.S., M.S., associate professor and director of the Advanced Education Program in Periodontology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry, warned against the covers in the longer term too.

Instead, “Toothbrushes should be stored upright in an environment that allows for them to dry out completely between uses,” she advises.

So how do I protect my bristles?

If the thought of leaving your brush uncovered in the land of toilet plumes, perhaps it shouldn’t ― there’s no proof yet that this has negative health outcomes, even though the idea is icky.

But if you hate the idea, perhaps you can leave yours in a medicine cabinet most mornings or move it to your bedroom entirely if you’re really freaked out.

Closing your loo lid when you flush goes far, too. And you should probably keep your toothbrush far away from that of someone who’s been poorly.

The ADA only really advises three “common sense” ways to keep your toothbrush clean, however: not sharing toothbrushes, rinsing the bristles properly after brushing, and allowing the brush to dry completely after use.

To follow that final piece of oral hygiene advice, you might want to restrict your toothbrush cover usage to holidays.