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4 Tips for Sterilization and Disinfection from Your Dentist to Your Family
Good oral hygiene can help reduce the risk of you or your family members contracting the COVID-19 virus, and it can give your immune system a boost. While cleaning our mouth is an important part of daily hygiene, keeping the tools we use to clean our teeth and gums, like toothbrushes, free of germs is just as important.
The COVID-19 virus has been found in fecal matter and that can make its way onto toothbrushes stored in the bathroom. Flushing a toilet leads to droplets of water and fecal matter being sprayed into the air. These droplets can settle on toothbrushes and other items.
Oral hygiene tips for disinfecting and sterilization during COVID-19
Droplets are not the only way a toothbrush can become contaminated. Toothbrushes are used to clean the mouth, which contains millions of bacteria. Some of these bacteria are flushed away while brushing, but others remain on the toothbrush. Over time, these bacteria can multiply until they reach unhealthy numbers. It is one of the reasons why dentists recommend replacing toothbrushes every three months. It is an important part of good oral hygiene.
Sterilizing and disinfecting a toothbrush starts with your brushing routine and how the toothbrush is stored. Dentists recommend rinsing the toothbrush in running water for at least 15 seconds after every brushing session. This helps to remove most of the bacteria left on the toothbrush.
Toothbrushes should be stored in an upright position so they can air dry between each use. They should be kept in a well-ventilated area since moist, dark environments promote the growth of bacteria.
Here are some additional ways to get rid of bacteria accumulation on a toothbrush and other dental tools used to clean the mouth:
1. Disinfect with hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent with antibacterial properties. Dentists recommend soaking toothbrushes in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water for about five minutes to kill off microorganisms, like the coronavirus and oral bacteria.
2. Soak in mouthwash
Mouthwash is primarily used to disinfect teeth, gums and the tongue, but it can also be used on dental tools. Simply place the toothbrush or dental tool in a container and pour mouthwash until it is submerged. The toothbrush should be left in the solution for about five minutes before being rinsed with running hot water.
3. Use the dishwasher
Dental tools, like toothbrushes, can be cleaned and disinfected by running them through a dishwasher. The detergents these machines use and the heat cycles involved help kill bacteria.
4. Use boiling water
Boiling water kills most microorganisms and it can be used to disinfect dental tools. Just make sure the item is not made out of soft plastics or rubbers that might be warped by the temperature of the water. This is the easiest way to sanitize a dental tool like a toothbrush. You simply submerge it in boiling water and leave it there for about three minutes.
Practice good oral hygiene
Keeping your dental tools clean and disinfected has never been so important. Call us to learn more ways to keep your dental equipment free of germs that can harm you.
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