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Health Tip: Microwave Your Toothbrush

If you're like most people, you get a new toothbrush every six months, but you really should be changing your toothbrush more often, like every three to four months. When the bristles get worn and lose their rigidity, they don't remove plaque as well. But you should also do some maintenance within that three months, when your toothbrush is just sitting out in the open. After all, think about all the germs and bacteria floating around that would love to attach themselves to your moist toothbrush.

So to prevent colds, flu, and other sicknesses, Reader's Digest recommends that once or twice a week you run your toothbrush through the microwave on high for 10 seconds immediately before brushing. If someone in your home is sick, you may want to sterilize it in the microwave each time you brush. If you're the one who's sick, after the illness passes, ditch your old toothbrush and replace it with a new one.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popovich
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holli2011 holli2011 5 years
The DON'Ts on Best Way to Sanitize a Toothbrush: Never share your toothbrush, even with a family member. Discard old brushes that have worn bristles. Don't store a toothbrush covered unless you are traveling. Don't stick your toothbrush in the microwave or try to boil it. Heat damages the nylon bristles. Washing your toothbrush in a dishwasher isn't all that effective and erodes the surface of the toothbrush. Soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash or denture cleaner is inconvenient, messy and unnecessary. While the Food and Drug Administration has sanctioned certain sonic toothbrush sanitizers as effective in reducing bacteria, the agency cautions consumers that "no commercially available toothbrush cleaning products have been shown to sterilize toothbrushes." from
wordsworth wordsworth 8 years
I've rethought this whole thing about the toothbrush. Really, the best way to treat your toothbrush, no your whole house, is to get a fogger, like you do for insects or spiders that you want to kill. You close all the windows, lock all the doors, and pull the tab on the can to release the ACTIVE INGREDIENT, and then you run like crazy to one of the doors you locked, trying to get out before inhaling, and tripping over the cat you forgot to let out. Now, as you begin to experience the painful breakdown the bacteria and virusssssses are experiencing, you lament what a terrible thing you are doing to these poor little creatures that just want to live, and reproduce, and make humans sick, and kill their host. You decide they can't be such bad little bugs on your toothbrush after all. You even begin to sympathize over the toilet bowl bugs. After all, they have to put up with you when you are throwing up from some GI bug that just wants to make a living in your gut. You live in the house, so your bugs should live in your house. There is enough room, they aren't that big, and they don't eat that much. They just a place that is warm and moist, like your nose. Nobody else likes your nose as much as they do. They won't even expect you to get a rhinoplasty if your nose isn't the shape you like it to be. These bugs jsut love you unconditionally. They tend to have big families. We call them colonies. Thats kind of quaint. You know, our ancestors once lived in what were called colonies when they first came to this land. Man, we have something in common with these little critters. One of the things our ancestors never encountered were PHAGOCYTES. That sounnds pretty strange. You know, I'm glad they didn't. But these little bacteria have to deal with PHAGOCYTES. Most of them can't. But virus tend to bypass these agressive little bug eaters, and go on about their business. Well, I know its getting late and all that, so I just want to wish your cat good luck pulling you out of the house. You know a cat has nine lives, so he ought to be good for a few more Fog units. You, on the other hand, have got to learn to deal with your resident and non-resident bacteria. I say, collect rent from the non-resident ones, and get the resident ones to do some work instead of just slouchng around, feeding off of your gut, or whatever they happen to like eating. Ingest a few bugs for old time sake. There's no telling what you can expectorate.
KimberlyE KimberlyE 8 years
LOL...Funny comment above toofache32...LOL! This is an AWESOME tip! I love this! I am always concerned about the germs and bacteria on things, especially my toothbrush! I used to use a great spray that you'd spray on it and rinse right before use, but they discontinued it, and I'm not sure what it was that the active ingredient was...maybe peroxide, baking soda, alcohol??? Anyway, this is a fabulous tip! Thanks FitSugar! Kimberly :)
ClothManiacMama ClothManiacMama 8 years
Microwaving plastic is never a good idea, think about the current BPA scare tactics. Instead do this: Fill a small cup (a dixie cup works for me) with HYDROGEN PEROXIDE and let the toothbrush sit in there for 1 hr. Do it weekly, no matter your physical state. If you do get the flu or a cold, get a new toothbrush. Peroxide has amazing properties! You can use it instead of cleaner to sanitize your sink and countertop, it makes a better mouthwash than Listerine, and in a pinch you can even brush your teeth with a half-peroxide, half-water mix. Beware, if you do it all-peroxide it will sting, but works like a bleach! Yay for peroxide!
mumbajumba mumbajumba 8 years
as i know, microwaves skakes just water molekules - so if it doesn't contains any water - microwave doe's nothing.
alicesm alicesm 8 years
A friend recommended the Purespace Home Sanitizer to me. It was a great common sense solution to the problem of how to properly keep my family's dental and other personal hygiene items clean. Cups of bleach, mouthwash, peroxide....not really practical in a busy household. Microwave thanks. With this appliance you just add water then it steams, dries and stores our brushes. We use it EVERY day and I swear you can feel the "clean". It may be just me...but we have also had had less bouts of sneezes and sniffles. I'm a believer!
charliekeira charliekeira 8 years
I put my electric touth brush in the microwave and it started my kitchen on fire. This is not a good idea is someone putting this up to start houses on fire?
edwaxer edwaxer 8 years
With the new Democratic admistration EVERYONE will own a microwave. From microwaves to volkswagons, from the mountains to the praries, share and share alike! Imagine! Doesn't anyone know that the Communist manifesto foundation lies with socialized and unionized theology!! Wake up! Turn off the TV! Get a brain America! Don't do the toothbrush thingy in the micro!
bugsmom314 bugsmom314 8 years
To Rain Main: Funny stuff about the toilet & the bleach. I could hardly read it to my husband because I was laughing so hard. Thanks for the tip!
wordsworth wordsworth 8 years
I'll start by saying, "Thank you!" to the wisecrackers for the hilarious comments. You gave me a great laugh. I sort-of like the idea of putting the toothbrush in the dishwasher. Considering the detergent you might use is likely to have bleach in it, you should have a nice clean toothbrush when it comes out. The microwave idea will probably reduce the life of the toothbrush significantly. Mr. Doctor Dentist, please use the proper contraction of 'you are': you're. As a professional, you ought to know better! Alcohol, peroxide, or Listerine might do the trick, or two of the three as a combined action. No, I don't mean mixing the liquids, but using one and then the other. Have a good scrubbing! As the one person offered that he would use his toothbrush to scrub his microwave, I would suggest using it to scrub behind your ears, or between your toes!
derXhammer derXhammer 8 years
Why does a tooth brush need to be sterile? I just brush my teeth two or three times a day and use mouthwash, and I replace the tooth brush when the bristles get worn down. I have never had any dental health problems and I never get sick. If you get sick a lot its probably because you do stupid things like microwave your tooth brush.
ParanoidPlaydoh ParanoidPlaydoh 8 years
that sounds awesome, cool if melts the handle of the brush
xxrrick xxrrick 8 years
I wonder if the stress from being germophobic is worse than the actuial impact from the germs on the brush itself. I wonder how many folks actually swallow the highly toxic, irradiated, germ rich, plastic riddled, toothpaste mix. lol. Maybe a I really need a bio response team to monitor my dental hygene. I personally expectorate the stuff. Not nuking the brush and using Hydrogen Peroxide has been a given for years. Listen to the Docs. Brush with HP, kill germs and whiten teeth. This is not rocket science folks. Do just a little toothbrushing research on the net. Happy Hygene Rick
Ronbo Ronbo 8 years
To Tooth it safe to gargle with Bleach? I'm just curious. Thank you.
et2 et2 8 years
I've microwaved my toothbrush IN WATER for years, but think I'll switch to the peroxide method since I don't have a microwave in my bathroom. Incidentally, if you're trying to use alcohol, or alcohol containing liquids like mouthwash, it takes AT LEAST three minutes. I like the boiling water because it loosens any debris and makes the toothbrush look like new. We microwave plastics all of the time, so I think some are over-reacting to the "tip." Water is necessary, however, not just microwaves.
llk4345 llk4345 8 years
I would be afraid to put my toothbrush in the microwave. There is alot of health problems associated with putting plastic in there.One health concern I have been reading about is cancer. You should never put plastic in the microwave. you need to use glass(corning ware) or dinner plates or something else,maybe paper plates to heat your food. Plastic releases alot of chemicals when its heated that can get in your food and now we are supposed to put toothbrushes in there to sterilize them. My best advice is when you buy a new brush, buy one that already has a cover to put over the bristles and store the brush in your medicine cabinet and you should be fine.I really don't think putting your brush in there will really sterilize it anyway.
helmet helmet 8 years
Why would you advise people to dispose of their toothbrushes after an illness when they can just sterilize it using several different methods (boiling & microwaving seem a bit ridiculous) as do many of the "tips" on here. It's an f*@#in toothbrush- not a surgical instrument!!! healthy living doesn't involve obsessing over germs, bacteria etc... common sense goes a long way, try using that instead. Also old toothbrushes can be used for many bs household tasks (cleaning, detailing, nail brush, etc...) "think before you toss"... as consumers we need to have SOME intelligence of our own rather than listening to OCD paranoia like microwaving a toothbrush. My ex has gum issues due to the fact that she obsessed over her dental health- she's not alone. Get a firm grip on reality folks & don't buy into hysteria.
highst950 highst950 8 years
Have done this for dentist recomended it to me when kids were small and I was getting mouth sores when they were sick. Electric toothbrush heads can be done too if there is no metal....10 sec will not melt plastic at all....I also keep a glass of mouthwash near sink to soak brush in.
racer1543 racer1543 8 years
Microwave, how about bleach :D or maybe alcohol or maybe mouth rinse like listerine??
toofache32 toofache32 8 years
"Why would you provide an alternative just because people may not have a microwave?..." I think Obama will take the microwaves from those that have too many and give them to those without microwaves. What about those of us without toothbrushes? This article is discrimnating against those without microwaves and toothbrushes!
terryanimated terryanimated 8 years
Here's what I do--once a week I pour some rubbing alcohol over the head of my toothbrush(just a splash) & wait a minute. Then rinse with cold water & brush! Kills whatever is living there.
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