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People try all sorts of ways to clean their toothbrushes. Some freeze it, boil it or invest in a pricey ultraviolet toothbrush sanitizer. But are these the best ways to disinfect your toothbrush?

Experts say no. Here’s what to do instead.

Use hot water

Forget soaking a toothbrush in mouthwash or denture cleaner or using UV light cleaners. Use some old-fashioned hot water. The reason you use hot water is that you have a natural flora of bacteria living in your mouth that’s necessary for a healthy environment. It’s not important to try to completely remove this bacteria from your toothbrush.

Let it dry completely

The bacteria that live on a toothbrush after you use it are considered anaerobic—meaning they will die in the presence of oxygen. So, if you let your toothbrush air dry, it will take care of most bacteria.

Store your toothbrush properly

Remember to store your toothbrush in an open-air holder, not in a dirty cup, drawer or travel case. Storing your toothbrush in those places can promote the growth of mold or bacteria that isn’t natural to your mouth, leading to mouth diseases like gingivitis.

Don’t share your toothbrush

Your mouth needs a healthy flora of its own bacteria, but it’s not good to introduce bacteria from someone else.

Replace your brush regularly

Instead of trying to sterilize your toothbrush, make a habit of replacing it regularly. Get a new one every three to four months. If the bristles fray, replace it sooner.

Schedule a Visit to the Dentist

A healthy mouth is an important part of overall health. Is yours as healthy as it could be? Schedule an appointment today and we’ll get you on your way to a brighter smile.