When Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

When Should I Replace My ToothbrushBelieve it or not, according to a 2011 study, the toothbrush holder was named the third “germiest” spot in the home. Why? Just think about it. Every time you flush your toilet, your toothbrush is exposed to water droplets, fecal matter, and a plethora of other bacteria. In fact, according to researchers at England’s University of Manchester, an uncovered toothbrush can harbor more than 100 million bacteria. Yikes!

“You don’t store your plates and glasses by the toilet, so why would you want to place your toothbrush there?” asked Gayle McCombs, RDH, MS, associate professor and director of the Dental Hygiene Research Center at Old Dominion University. “It’s just common sense to store your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible.”

Storing Your Toothbrush

  1. Move It: First and foremost, move your toothbrush holder as far away from the toilet as you can. And be sure to wash it in the dishwasher on its high-temperature cycle.
  2. Rinse It: After using your toothbrush, be sure to rinse it off.
  3. Dry It: Bacteria are drawn to moist environments. Because of this, it is important to dry your toothbrush after you rinse it. And contrary to what you may be thinking, it is better to NOT use a toothbrush cover. These covers create a moist enclosed breeding ground for bacteria.
  4. Prop It Up: You should never store your toothbrush on its side. Instead, store it upright. This is where a toothbrush holder comes in handy.
  5. Do Not Share It: Never, ever, ever share your toothbrush. We don’t care how close you are. This is just a bad idea.
  6. Replace It: Finally, the answer to the question you have been wondering about all along; “When Should I Replace My Toothbrush?” The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush every 34 months. Around this time, the bristles begin to fray and the toothbrush loses some of its effectiveness.

The ADA and the Council on Scientific Affairs recommend the above methods for storing and caring for your toothbrush.

If you have any questions about our blog,When Should I Replace My Toothbrush?” or wish to schedule an appointment, please contact Leikin & Baylin Dental Care by calling 410-747-1115 or visit CatonsvilleDentalCare.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And don’t forget, we will be donating $1 to the Catonsville Celebrations Committee for every new “Like” our Facebook page receives.


  1. Wash Your Hands: The Dirtiest Places Kids Will Find WebMD
  2. The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush WebMD
  3. Statement on Toothbrush Care: Cleaning, Storage and Replacement American Dental Association
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