But will putting it in the dishwasher accomplish that, or will it cause more harm than good?
Basic Toothbrush Facts
Yes, your toothbrush can pick up microorganisms from the environment and from your mouth. Most of these are harmless and your body's natural defenses will take care of them. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't pay attention to the cleanliness of your brush.
Rinsing your toothbrush well with tap water after brushing should sufficiently clean your toothbrush. When you have finished rinsing, store your toothbrush in an upright position and let it air dry. If you have a toothbrush holder that contains multiple brushes, make sure the brushes don't touch one another.
There are storage methods that are not recommended and can increase the potential for bacterial growth. Do not store your newly rinsed toothbrush in a closed container. Moist, dark places invite bacterial growth. Remember to change your toothbrush every 2-3 months. This is more for the strength and integrity of the bristles than the cleanliness of the brush.
Is There Any Other Way to Clean It?
There are several ways to clean your brush, but the dishwasher or microwave are not on the list. Putting your toothbrush in either appliance could damage the brush and make it less effective. They were not designed to withstand those environments and there is no evidence that it enhances the toothbrushes effectiveness or cleanliness.
Soaking your toothbrush in solutions such as alcohol or antibacterial soap could also damage your brush. If you feel compelled to sanitize your brush using something other than water you can soak it in an antibacterial mouthwash for about ten minutes, but be aware that there is no clinical evidence that this enhances the toothbrushes' effectiveness.
If you are truly concerned or have an out of the ordinary home health situation, contact our office for advice.