Will a neat rack of toothbrushes spark joy in your life? Maybe not. But with tidier toothbrushing kit you’ll feel good because you’re doing your best to keep your mouth, and the family’s, healthy and free of harmful bacteria. Moreover, the bathroom will look less cluttered too!
Keep our one simple rule in mind to help all the family maintain their oral health, prevent the spread of germs, and stop squabbles about who’s finished the toothpaste.
One rule – keep your toothbrushing kit to yourself!
It won’t come as a surprise that a toothbrush is a personal item, that’s best not shared.
But many people do share!
In fact, according to the Oral Health Foundation, about 26% of Brits admit they are willing to let someone else use their toothbrush! Their research suggests men share more willingly than women, and newly bonding couples are more likely to as well. Of course, it’s good to share experiences with our loved ones. Yet sharing a glass or a kiss is not the same as sharing a toothbrush – it’s not as risky.
Our dental cleaning tools come into contact with a lot of oral bacteria and, depending on the health of our gums, there can be blood too. A little saliva, because it has antibacterial properties, is usually okay. All that other stuff stuck between the bristles of our brush from the nooks and crannies of our mouths, however, is best kept away from other people.
Some people also prefer to keep their toothpaste, floss and other paraphernalia to themselves too. That way there’s no cross-contamination. After all, you pick up your interdental brushes, then the floss, then the paste… it makes good sense to keep it personal.
Five guidelines for tidying toothbrushes etc
- Make sure that everyone in the house knows what’s theirs. Use colour coding consistently and allocate a shelf or designated area per person. Often several generations share the same space, but all have different dental needs. For example, children need toothpaste with less fluoride than adults, some prefer dental tape to floss, and others need a particular interdental brush to clean out that space. Therefore it’s more than just the brush that’s personal.
- There’s no rule that says toothbrushes must be stored in the bathroom. If you’re tight for space, it can be a great idea to store kit in the bedroom. Especially if you live in a high-occupancy home, you can be more certain your kit’s stored hygienically. After all, cross-contamination can even happen when bristles touch in the same toothbrush holder.
- Different households have different standards. It may involve regular rinsing with hot water, soaking brushes in a solution of either vinegar or antibacterial mouthwash, washing along with the dishes, or steam cleaning. Decide on a cleaning regime and schedule it with the other chores.
- Keep your kit up to date. Keep in mind that toothbrushes and heads of electric brushes need changing every three months, or sooner if they show signs of wear. If you use an interdental brush with a wire core, then change that every week to avoid it snapping in your mouth. Regular changes help the battle against germs.
- Give it a chance to dry. Nothing helps germs breed like a warm, damp environment. We’ve all seen mould grow on the handle of our brush if we leave it in a mug. Instead, be sure to support all equipment off surfaces that could harbour water and bacteria. Make sure there’s some air flow to keep everything dry. Brushes with bamboo handles in particular need a rack to air-dry.
The golden rule
The one and only rule for tidy toothbrushing kit is to keep it to yourself! There’s nothing selfish about that – it makes the best of sense! And your teeth and gums will thank you for it!
An added bonus?
A clean up of the bathroom could be a great excuse to refresh some bathroom accessories, get handy with wall-mounted toothbrush holders or hang those shelves you’ve wanted for ages! If you decide to have a sort out, have fun and keep up that smile!
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