What is a Toothbrush Sanitizer?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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While brushing your teeth is undeniably an excellent way to avoid gum disease and reduce the risk of cavities, the home of the toothbrush — your bathroom — is a fairly germ-filled place. Toothbrushes are regularly exposed to a variety of germs, from touching other toothbrushes, fine particles of excrement, and from molds and various other bacteria and viruses. To this end, many people now keep their toothbrushes in cases or use what is called a toothbrush sanitizer to get rid of these germs, since rinsing off your toothbrush is not enough.

A toothbrush sanitizer can use UV light to kill germs. This is the same method used by hospitals to eliminate most bacteria, and it will eliminate about 99.8% of germs on your toothbrush. Many of these new gadgets allow for multiple toothbrushes to be cleaned at the same time, and a number of them accommodate different sizes of brushes, like ones that are electric or kid-sized.

Another type of toothbrush sanitizer works by creating super hot steam, with water you add, in order to thoroughly clean a toothbrush. This too, will help eliminate most of the germs from your toothbrush. However, since this method works by inserting a whole toothbrush into a tiny dishwasher like machine, it may not be practical for some of the electric or battery powered toothbrush models.


Some people consider simply boiling or dishwashing their toothbrushes instead of using a toothbrush sanitizer. While boiling may work all right with some models, you probably shouldn’t use a dishwasher to clean your toothbrush. The toothbrush may gather fine particles of detergent, which isn’t good for you. Again, most battery powered or electric toothbrushes can’t be sanitized by either of these methods.

Even if you use a toothbrush sanitizer, dentists still recommend you replace your toothbrush, or toothbrush head, every two to three months. It’s also important to note that while germs do get on a toothbrush, these seldom cause illness. Yet in our germ-fighting world, the toothbrush sanitizer is ever gaining popularity.

You’ll find a variety of models of toothbrush sanitizers, and cost can vary significantly. You can spend up to $100 US Dollars (USD) for very elaborate types, but less fancy and cheaper versions may work just as well. Still, expect to pay at least $30-40 USD for a toothbrush sanitizer.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

After reading that some people may experience chronic throat and mouth infections as a result of bacteria filled toothbrushes, I started looking into toothbrush sanitizers. But I've not found any source, or any manufacturer really, saying that these sanitizers can help prevent illness. Who knows if toothbrush sanitizers really work? I feel like I'm using it for peace of mind, rather than for true benefits.

Post 2

@serenesurface-- That's a good question. I'm not sure actually. I think that toothbrushes accumulate germs because they remain moist. So the bacteria from our mouth and from food particles multiply in the brush. So keeping the brush dry will help kill bacteria. And sunlight also kills bacteria. But the question really is, will you be able to place your brush in the sun after each brushing?

Most people prefer a sanitizer for convenience. They want to place their brush in the sanitizer and let the sanitizer do the work. I actually think that a UV sanitizer is a good idea. It's better than the sanitizer that clean brushes using some type of antimicrobial agent. These require rinsing the brush afterward, and I'm always worried that the sanitizer might remain on the brush and might be harmful for me.

Post 1

If some sanitizers use UV light to sanitize toothbrushes, does that mean that I can clean my toothbrush by just putting it under sunlight?

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