Clean Toothbrush on a Budget

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Dr. Ellie,

Thanks for your helpful blog.

This may sound silly, but I’m wondering about the logistics of rinsing our toothbrushes in Listerine without being wasteful. Do you have any tips? Pour some in a cup? Is hydrogen peroxide an effective toothbrush cleaner? It’s a lot less expensive… We’re a family of six and can go through a major amount of Listerine.

Not long before I found your dental care system, I purchased yet another $20 tube of fluoride gel (Pro-Den Rx, 1.1% Sodium Fluoride). I hate to waste it. Is there a problem with using the gel instead of the ACT (just until the gel is gone)? Maybe I could rinse my mouth with water after using Listerine and before using the gel?

Thanks again.


Dear DH,

There are 3 ways of cleaning toothbrushes that have been studied and found effective: swishing the head of the brush in dilute bleach water, Listerine (in both cases you will rinse out the brush with water and allowing to air dry) and UV toothbrush sterilizers (that are supposed to kill 99% of the bacteria).

I do not usually talk about bleach water often because people go “ewwe” and there are some risks if you do not rinse off the bleach. On the other hand it is the least expensive way to clean your brushes. You must rinse the brushes well since bleach is not good for teeth and will soften and damage them. No, hydrogen peroxide is ineffective with these particular bacteria nor do I suggest boiling water.

For “less enthusiastic” approach there is the dishwasher! It will sanitize and give the brushes a good washing. I prefer the use of the other ideas above but this is an option.

The amounts of rinse you use for my system does not matter.
Being frugal is fine it is more important to go through all the stages of my system with correct products.

A tube of toothpaste ( if you use a pea size amount) will last for months and months.
Someone told me last week she shops at BJs for Listerine, Target for ACT and the Dollar Stores for toothpaste on sale. Closys can be expensive but worth every cent in my opinion. Walgreen (or possibly your dentist office) is the only place that you can get Closys or online.

I would say you should consider the savings of avoiding unnecessary dental treatments.
I was reading an article about the cost of dental treatments most cleanings put you near to $100. My system has taken people from three or four cleanings a year to barely needing a check up exam. The savings is far greater than the cost of the rinses and Zellies.

I am hesitant to suggest using the fluoride gel because you won’t know the difference until you try the system completely. There is no need to throw the get away but I would put it to one side and first try the system complete . Then you will know what feeling you should expect from your oral care products. After a month or two you could try supplementing with the gel and see what you think… the feeling better? same, or worse?

I would love to know the results of your assessment!

Thanks for you interest I am sure that you will be amazed at the way your teeth feel with this system.

Please let me know if you have any other questions,

Ellie Phillips
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester, NY 14623

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  • susieloulou says:

    I rinse my toothbrush in the Listerine I'm about to rinse my mouth with. Is this a problem? Swish toothbrush in Listerine for 30 seconds or so, rinse brush and stand up to dry, add a bit of water to Listerine and rinse mouth out. I'm cheap naturally I guess :-)I'm still wimpy about the Listerine taste so I'm watering it down a bit.

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