Millions of bacteria live in your mouth, and the disease-causing ones may come from your toothbrush. That’s even more likely if you store it near the toilet, where it can come in contact with microscopic fecal matter released into the air each time you flush.
Discoveries like this have added to the buzz around UV toothbrush sanitizers in recent years. But how effective are they? More importantly, are they necessary? Before deciding if you should get one, let’s first define what a UV sanitizer is.
What is a UV toothbrush sanitizer?
Short for ultraviolet sanitizers, these electronic devices eliminate vast populations of bacteria living on your toothbrush using UV light. They come in different varieties such as the countertop kind designed to accommodate multiple brushes at the same time, and portable ones made to carry, clean, and protect a single toothbrush while on the go.
UV sanitizers differ from other types of toothbrush cleaners in the sense that they don’t require chemicals, soaking, and physical contact with the bristles in order to work. However, it’s worth noting that like rinses and soaps, sanitizers cannot kill 100% of germs. No disinfectant can do that.
How does a UV toothbrush sanitizer work?
It uses UV-C light, a part of the ultraviolet light spectrum that doesn’t penetrate and harm human skin. UV-C works by damaging the DNA of microorganisms, making them unable to function or reproduce. At best, a UV sanitizer can kill up to 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in a matter of minutes.
Germicidal UV technology has long been used to sterilize hospital facilities and medical equipment. Recent innovations have made it available to the public in handy forms to use on our everyday things and immediate surroundings. As proven by recent breakthroughs, UV-C sanitizers are effective aids in preventing the spread of H1N1, TB, and measle viruses, as well as superbugs like MRSA.
Should I get a UV toothbrush sanitizer?
That totally depends on you. To help you decide, consider the following:
Where do you currently store your toothbrush?
As mentioned earlier, dirty surroundings can also leave your personal items unsanitary.
How do you clean your toothbrush?
If you feel that rinses are not enough, UV sanitizers might be for you. Avoid putting your toothbrush in a dishwasher or microwave because extreme heat can damage plastic parts and expose you to toxins.
How many people do you live with?
Storing toothbrushes together might be as bad as sharing them. Not only does it let virus from a sick person spread, it also increases the risk of fecal contamination by 80%.
How often to you travel?
You may find portable UV sanitizers useful if you regularly transport your toothbrush to work or to places where thorough cleaning and air-drying are not possible.
Any type of toothbrush cleaner is good as long as it does the job of keeping your mouth healthy. Just keep in mind that no matter the method you choose, always practice proper toothbrush care. As recommended by the American Dental Association, the steps are to never share, always rinse, let it dry, and replace it every three to four months.
MOUTHFUL strives to promote better understanding of sustainable dental health and oral hygiene practices. While we seek credible sources and cite them in our posts, this article does not intend to stand as professional advice. Please reach out to your dentist or a medical expert if you have questions regarding a health condition or treatment.