We’re in the height of summer travel season. You’ve probably thought of everything when it comes to packing, right? The type of bag you use, the usefulness of packing cubes, and where to pack liquids to ensure you make it through the airport without issue.
When it comes to packing your toothbrush, most people assume that it’s as easy as remembering to pack it! And of all things to forget, it really isn’t that detrimental since you can easily buy one just about anywhere.
But what if we told you that the way you store your toothbrush for travel can actually impact your oral health?
Not only will we help you learn how to properly (and easily!) store your toothbrush for everyday use on top of travel, we’ll also highlight some truly impressive travel toothbrushes that can make your trips even easier. Don’t let toothbrush grime get you down! We’re here to ensure you have happy AND healthy travels.
Think about your bathroom. Which do you think is the grimiest surface? The toilet bowl? The door knob? The back corner of the shower? Well, think again. A new bathroom cleanliness study from the American Society for Microbiology showed that toothbrush storage containers rank at the top of the dirtiest surfaces in a bathroom.
But before you rush to hide your toothbrush in a drawer or medicine cabinet to protect it from bacteria, it’s important to remember that dark, warm places of any type can breed bacteria and cause it to multiply even faster. The American Dental Association recommends that you store toothbrushes so they can air-dry in upright position, and so they don’t touch each other.
However, let’s get down to the dirty details on keeping your toothbrush clean in your bathroom. The key to minimizing the spread of germs starts with your toilet. Closing the lid before flushing is essential. If you leave the lid up when you flush, germy water particles (and whatever else is in the toilet) can spray across the room—up to six feet away from the toilet. These particles can then land on your toothbrush. Think about that before you stick your toothbrush in your mouth next time!
If you are storing your toothbrush on the counter, make sure its head isn’t touching other toothbrush heads. This is also a great way for germs to jump between brushes. Finally, the most important tip is to rinse it off generously and replace it every three to four months. The best way to prevent grime build up is to just get a new brush!
Traveling with your toothbrush
How you plan to pack your toothbrush is probably at the end of your long packing to-do list. But many frequent travelers note that their toothbrushes can become moldy with excessive travel, so how you pack it does make a very real difference.
Packing a wet toothbrush is especially common (and prone to bacteria growth) since brushing your teeth is generally the last thing you do before you head out the door. Then you put your toothbrush—while still wet—in a plastic storage container and throw it in your bag. There it will stay for many hours and in many different temperatures. When you get to your destination, there is a strong possibility it will still be wet. In this swampy environment, bacteria and mold can grow and multiply quickly.
Some travel sites suggest keeping your brush upright, but there is no guarantee what happens to your bag once it is checked in. And unless you have an extra brush, sometimes isn’t time for it to dry out thoroughly before packing. To get the extreme wetness off, try patting it dry with a paper towel or napkin. Also, make sure that the plastic container that you store it in for travel has been cleaned. These can easily be run through the dishwasher prior to travel. Just make sure that it has enough time to dry out all the way!
If you are looking for a specific toothbrush that is easy to travel with or don’t feel like lugging around your daily electric one, there is a whole market of travel toothbrush products designed specifically for you.
Aptly named the Tour Travel Toothbush, this slick design was the brainchild of a company founded by architects. The beauty of this product is that, when it is extended, it is the size of a typical toothbrush, but its hollow handle allows it to fold into itself. This means no more gunky plastic containers.
If your trip this summer is somewhere that requires extremely light packing, then this minimalist brush may be best. Parents reading this may recognize it as an infant toothbrush – and it is! However, for camping trips or locations that you won’t have traditional lodging, this over–the–finger brush is perfect. It also comes with its own carrying container.
This travel toothbrush comes in a four pack and the cover can be used as a handle to extend the brush into a full sized option. The best part of this toothbrush is that the four pack is only $5. That means as soon as the handle/cover gets grimy you can throw it our guilt free. You can get one pack for the whole family this vacation!
If you don’t want to leave home without an electric toothbrush, then look no further than the Quip. It is both lightweight and completely waterproof. Also, it runs on AAA batteries so there is no need to worry about power converters or adapters if you are overseas. It even comes in funky colors that will make you look forward to brushing your teeth.
Finally, the best travel toothbrush is one that can be thrown away when you’re done. Stock up on inexpensive brushes at the store and keep them on–hand for when you are traveling. This will help prevent brushes being stored for long periods of time in luggage or wet, plastic containers. Or, next time you are at the dentist ask for a couple of extra. We always have a few laying around!