4 Common Causes of a Foul-Smelling Toothbrush

Your toothbrush is always going to be your main weapon in the fight against plaque, bacteria, and decay, so it should be considered a cause for concern if you find yours has developed an unpleasant odour. In most cases, a foul-smelling toothbrush should be replaced right away. That means either getting a new manual toothbrush or replacing the head of your electric toothbrush.

However, it's also worth understanding the root cause of such odours so you can take steps to correct them. After all, you don't want your new toothbrush to develop the same smell.

With that in mind, here are just four common causes of a foul-smelling toothbrush.

1. Bad Breath

Before you go blaming the toothbrush, it's worth remembering that your own mouth might be the problem. If you suffer from chronic bad breath (halitosis), the same compounds that cause unpleasant smells to develop in your mouth can be transferred to the bristles of your toothbrush. You may also find that the causes of temporary bad breath are transferred to your toothbrush. For example, small particles of food and drink can be picked up.

2. Moist Environment

If your toothbrush develops an unpleasant odour even though your own breath is always minty fresh, there's a good chance bacteria is growing on it. When this happens, it's usually because your toothbrush is not allowed to fully dry out. That moist environment is perfect for bacteria, so it should be a cause for concern if your toothbrush is still slightly wet before you start to brush. Remember, bacteria can cause anything from decay to gum disease. When it grows on your toothbrush, unpleasant odours can be the least of your troubles.

3. Lack of Cleaning

Another common cause of a foul-smelling toothbrush is a simple lack of cleaning. Once you're done cleaning your teeth, you should rinse off the head of your toothbrush. When you do, most of the bacteria that was transferred from your mouth will be washed away. Just as importantly, small particles of food won't have a chance to get stuck to the bristles of your toothbrush. A lack of cleaning can lead to unpleasant odours developing.

4. Old Age

Finally, it's worth remembering that no toothbrush is going to last forever. Even when you do commit to proper cleaning, a toothbrush may develop bacteria or pick up food particles over time, especially since they become harder to clean once bristles become worn and out of shape. As such, it makes sense to swap out your entire manual toothbrush or the head of your electric toothbrush every few months as recommended by your dentist.

For more information, contact a local dentist.