This Is How You're Storing Your Toothbrush in the Worst Way Possible

You probably store your toothbrush in one of two ways—and neither are doing you any favors.

If we had to guess, you probably store your toothbrush standing up in a cup or container that sits on your bathroom sink. We hate to say it, but that's actually a pretty terrible idea—and there's science to prove it. According to a study published in The Journal of Hospital Infection, fecal particles have been detected in the air as high as 10 inches above the toilet seat immediately after the toilet is flushed. And when you consider the likelihood of an open window or fan being a factor, it's very easy for these particles to make their way onto the thing you use to "clean" your mouth.

If you think you are ahead of the game by placing a protective cover over your toothbrush, often used for traveling, think again. "Storing a moist toothbrush in a closed container promotes microbial growth more so than leaving it exposed to the open air," the American Dental Association (ADA) says. So, how do you keep your toothbrush clean, or at least as bacteria-free as possible? Read on to find out. And for another hygiene hack, check out The One Body Part You Should Never Shave.

Move your toothbrush away from the toilet.

soap dispenser toothbrush holder and towels in bathroom
S_Photo / Shutterstock

First things first, store your toothbrush as far away from your toilet as possible. The more distance you put between your brush and your bowl, the less likely you are to fall victim to contamination. And for more hygiene advice to be aware of, check out This Is How Often You Should Really Be Changing Your Sheets, Experts Say.

Close the lid before flushing the toilet.

close up of hand lowering toilet seat

Even more important than storing your toothbrush away from the toilet is getting in the habit of putting the toilet lid down before flushing. The same 2011 study mentioned earlier found that fecal particles were not found on any bathroom surface if the toilet was covered and then flushed. And for another little tip for helping you stay fresh, This Is How Often You Should Really Be Changing Your Underwear.

Let the bristles dry before covering your toothbrush.

Toothbrush cover

You now know that covering your toothbrush when it's still wet does more harm than good. But if you find yourself needing to use a cover for travel or some other purpose, there's a way to do it right, the ADA says: Make sure that both the brush's bristles and the inside of the cover are completely dry before linking them together. And for more helpful information about your everyday life delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Get a new toothbrush every few months.

Old, frayed toothbrush next to brand new toothbrush

Here's what the ADA has to say about how often you should get a new toothbrush: "Toothbrushes should be replaced approximately every three to four months or more often if the bristles become matted or frayed. The effectiveness of the brush decreases as the bristles become worn." And for more hygiene advice that may surprise you, here's The One Body Part You Shouldn't Wash in the Shower, Doctors Say.

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