Researchers have found that a single toothbrush can be loaded with as many as 10 million germs and bacteria. Wow. Now that should be enough of a sentence for you to make sure you clean your electric toothbrush on a regular basis and replace the toothbrush head when necessary!
How to clean an electric toothbrush handle
First up you need to know that you should never submerge the handle in any form of liquid; electronic circuitry does not take kindly to a soaking.
In early models of two piece electric toothbrushes, it could be bit fiddly separating the brush head from the handle. All the major brands seem to have rectified this problem and now it only takes a couple of seconds to remove the brush head from the handle.
The solution needed to clean the handle is plain old hot water with a little added bleach – 10 parts water to 1 part bleach. Any container will do to hold the solution, or you could use the bathroom sink.
Now just dampen a small area of a clean cloth in the solution and give the handle a serious wiping all over. Don’t forget the area at the top of the handle where the brush head attaches. If you have a cotton swab handy, dip it in your solutions and carefully swab around inside the opening.
This should be done about once a month and it’s worth doing as it can preserve the working life of your brush and will help keep it germ free and stop it becoming mouldy.
How to clean an electric toothbrush head
After each time you brush your teeth, be sure to rinse the toothbrush head thoroughly, getting rid of excess toothpaste or food bits picked up from your mouth. Once a month or so, soak your toothbrush head in a solution of bleach and water (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) for an hour; then rinse it thoroughly.
Wipe the base of the toothbrush head with a clean white cloth dipped in the bleach solution. When the toothbrush bristles start to splay open, it’s time for a new toothbrush if you have the one piece electric toothbrush or new toothbrush head if you have the two piece kind.
Ultraviolet toothbrush sanitisers
Studies in dental journals do demonstrate that UV sanitizers effectively kill bacteria and micro organisms. Note however, even manufacturers seldom, if ever, claim to kill 100% of bacteria. The studies say that while UV lights designed for toothbrushes certainly reduce the amount of bacteria, they don’t completely eliminate it entirely.
Interestingly, other forms of sanitising, using common household products were found to be equally or more successful at eliminating micro organisms from toothbrushes.
The Sonicare FlexCare electric toothbrush comes with an integrated UV sanitiser, it’s a brilliant concept; check out my full review to see how it works.
Mouthwashes as sanitisers
Other studies examined the effect of soaking toothbrushes in anti-microbial rinses, such as mouthwash, for up to twenty minutes. This was considered very effective, using a wide variety of antiseptic products available over the counter. Of course, over time the costs of this method may equal or exceed the cost of a UV sanitizer.
Microwave Ovens as sanitisers
Various researchers studied the sanitizing properties of microwaves. Microwaving for even just one minute completely eradicated germs previously found on study toothbrushes. Sounds promising, but I can’t imagine anyone else who users the same microwave being too thrilled about the ideal.
Most manufacturers actually state that you should not microwave your brush heads as the heads quickly lose their effectiveness. Replacements are not cheap, so overall, not a great idea.
Dishwashers as sanitisers
Another study published in the American Journal of Dentistry found that simply sticking a toothbrush in the dishwasher and running it through a cleaning cycle successfully eliminated the majority of bacteria present.
As with the microwave, you won’t be too popular if your brush heads are found in with the breakfast dishes. Again manufactures warn against using a dishwasher as a way of sanitising you brush heads, they simply don’t continue to clean as effectively after being submitted to the dishwasher treatment.
Sanitising with just rinsing and air-drying
Rinsing with water and air-drying is the most common method of keeping brush heads clean. Does this method work? Study results were mixed; some claimed it was a good method while others concluded this method inferior.
All studies agreed that rinsing and air-drying reduced the count of oral bacteria over simply doing nothing to clean your brush head.
The benefit of this method is that it’s the easiest and cheapest method of keeping your toothbrush usable.
Research Source: www.howtocleananything.com