What if I told you there’s a “right way” to take care of your toothbrush? Weird? Maybe. Helpful? Definitely.

Don’t forget that your toothbrush is used twice daily (hopefully), and its entire purpose is to scrub the bacteria and plaque off of your teeth. While this leaves your mouth clean, it does not leave your toothbrush sanitary. And most of us then store this dirty toothbrush in a bathroom, which also has lingering bacteria in the air.  Grossed out yet?

Fortunately, this is simply remedied. First of all, rinse your brush with hot water after each use. If this doesn’t feel like a powerful enough cleaning method, you can always soak the brush in antibacterial mouthwash. If you want to take it further still, a pot of boiling water can be used to dip your toothbrush in for sanitizing purposes.

Most of us visit the dentist every 6 months or so, and we eagerly await the customary gift bag with a fresh toothbrush, dental floss and toothpaste. But to be honest, this might be too long to wait. Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months to limit bacteria and to work effectively. Once those bristles look sad and frayed, it’s time for a replacement.

Put old toothbrushes to good use around the house for reaching those tough spots on grout and backsplashes. Buy yourself a new one, keep up those good brushing habits and don’t forget to schedule your regular dental appointments.