Passing Germs

Hi Dr Ellie.

I am wondering:

When I rinse my families toothbrushes, do I need to use a new Dixie cup of Listerine for each persons brush or does the one cup of rinse kill all bacteria on contact?

I’ve been using new cups of rinse for every person and am going through LOTS of Listerine. Quickly.

Thanks in advance!


Hi LS,

Since it is usual for families to share bacteria anyway, one cup should be fine for all the brushes ( **with the exception below).

Swish the heads of the brushes, then rinse well under running water. Allow the brushes to stand up pivoted on their handles so that the brush head will dry completely before next use.

**Exception: If someone in the family has a real problem with cavities and/or gum disease or a sore throat etc. Dental disease is a contagious, transmissible infection ( just like other infections, Strep sore throat etc). If someone is sick you should separate the utensils that they eat with etc. The same for when it comes to toothbrushes.

If someone in my family was being treated for Periodontal Disease or a mouth full of cavities I would not put my brush in the same area and I don’t think even in the same Listerine even though I guess it should not be a problem!

The good news is that with simple hygiene and the use of xylitol, everyone can overcome the disease!

Thanks for your very useful message.I am told some of the wholesale clubs sell Listerine at a very good price these days. One patient told me she just purchased a case of 4 Crest Regular toothpastes at Sam’s Club – for $2 per tube. Make sure you are selecting carefully avoid whitening or “extras” added.

Good luck and thanks again for your question,

26 Corporate Woods
Rochester, NY 14623
(585) 272-1270

Categories: Uncategorized


  • Anonymous says:

    I just can't help commenting on the family toothbrush cleaning method… I love my family very much, but the thought of dipping our toothbrushes in the same cup makes my skin crawl. Maybe I have some OCD issues or something, but we'll manage the extra expense on cups and Listerine!

  • susieloulou says:

    As I commented below, I rinse my brush in the Listerine I'm about to rinse my mouth with! Does that give you the heebie-jeebies? LOL

  • susieloulou says:

    I thought I left a message here – did it get removed or did I do it wrong? I use the Listerine I'm about to rinse my mouth with to soak my toothbrush! Does that make your skin crawl? Is it bad?

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Yes, it makes my skin crawl.Buy a gallon of cheap Listerine and use just a little drop or two to swish your brush in – then rinse it off under running water – and store your brush to air dry.Then use a separate amount to rinse your mouth.Ellie http://www.zellies.com26 Corporate WoodsRochester, NY 14623(585) 272-1270

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