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How to clean your toothbrush

How to clean your toothbrush
How to clean your toothbrush 02:49

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Let's talk about your toothbrush.

The American Dental Association is out with advice that might seem odd.

The bottom line is we need to be cleaning our toothbrushes.

Never rush when you brush, according to the American Dental Association, but the fact is, you might be missing an important step.

"A toothbrush harbors a lot of bacteria that you have in your mouth. So, because of that, you want to thoroughly rinse it before and after you brush your teeth," according to Dr. Katie Polley-Schemel at Family Dentistry.

Dr. Polley-Schemel said it's not the kind of bacteria that's going to make you sick, but it is the very stuff you're trying to brush away in the first place.

Add to your habit before and after cleanings of the brush.

"Because before, it'll rinse off any bacteria that might still be harboring on the back of your toothbrush from last time, and after, because it will remove any toothpaste or bacteria from the current time you brush your teeth."

So, what do you use to clean a toothbrush?

"You just thoroughly rinse it before and after you brush with warm water. Don't use scalding hot water. Don't put it in a dishwasher. Don't microwave it because that can damage the bristles of your toothbrush," Dr. Polley-Schemel added.

What if your brush is electric?

"I would recommend when you're done, remove the toothbrush head from the handle and rinse the entire toothbrush head from top to bottom before you put it back on because it's open in the middle, so you want to make sure you rinse out that middle part."

Once it's thoroughly rinsed, follow these simple steps.

"You want to store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air dry when you're done. You don't want to store it while it's moist in a closed container because it can cause the microbes to grow on your toothbrush," said Dr. Polley-Schemel.

Dr. Polley-Schemel said to replace your brush every three-to-four months and to watch for fraying of the bristles.

So, if you're not cleaning the brush, are you just putting the bacteria right back in there?

Yes, and that's what you're trying to remove to preserve your teeth.

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