Q:

What are some good ways to sanitize toothbrushes?

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Quick Answer

Some good ways to sanitize a toothbrush include soaking it in an antibacterial mouthwash, rinsing it after use and using a FDA-approved ultraviolet sanitizer. As of 2015, medical experts believe there is little danger of bacterial growth on toothbrushes in between uses and that strict sanitation is not required.

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Full Answer

While the average mouth contains billions of microbes, medical research shows that thoroughly sanitizing a toothbrush after every use has little, if any, effect on preventing illness in the average healthy person. The Center for Disease Control states that all that is necessary to sanitize a toothbrush is rinsing it after use.

The CDC does not consider soaking toothbrushes in mouthwash necessary and adds that it can actually cause contamination if the liquid is re-used or used by multiple people. However, soaking a toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash may reduce bacteria levels when, for instance, someone who suffers from frequent infections needs to deep clean their brush.

FDA-approved UV sanitizers are also capable of deep-cleaning, but the CDC cautions that ultraviolet can potentially damage toothbrush bristles.

The CDC recommends preventative measures for toothbrush sanitation, such as refusing to share toothbrushes, frequently replacing the brush and storing brushes in open containers.

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