Your teeth are clean, right? You flossed, rinsed, and brushed— you’re covered. Don’t be so sure. A 2011 study published in Microscopy Research and Technique uncovered your toothbrush’s biggest secret: Almost half of the new oral hygiene tools available for purchase contain bacteria—before you even open the box. That’s right, every time you buy a new toothbrush, you’ve got a 50/50 chance that it’s been delivered with bacteria already lurking between the bristles.
So, what do you do? Our friends at the American Journal of Dentistry have a couple of options for you: First, they suggest running your toothbrush through the dishwasher. If putting your new toothbrush next to last night’s used spatula isn’t for you, find some cetylpyridinium chloride—an antiseptic found in many mouthwashes and toothpastes. One study found that soaking your toothbrush (new or old) in a wash containing this compound for 20 minutes will leave it devoid of bacteria.
Click here to find out which toothbrush is right for you.