mold bamboo toothbrush
Health & Beauty

Is Your Bamboo Toothbrush Harboring Mold? What You Need To Know

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Do you know what’s currently growing on your toothbrush? Unfortunately, bamboo toothbrush mold is a real risk and can grow on anyone’s toothbrush!

siblings brushing teeth with bamboo toothbrush
Unfortunately, bamboo toothbrush mold is a real risk

The question had never crossed my mind while using a plastic toothbrush, but it became a major concern when I started thinking about switching to an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush.

Bamboo toothbrushes may be more likely to harbor mold than plastic ones. However, you shouldn’t let this dissuade you from trying out a more sustainable oral care routine.

The good news is that the mold most commonly found on toothbrushes is not as dangerous as many think it is (at least in small amounts). But you should still take steps to protect yourself and your family from potential exposure.

Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your bamboo toothbrush clean and prevent the spread of mold spores in your home:

Can Toothbrushes Get Moldy?

woman brushing teeth with bamboo toothbrush
Mold in toothbrushes is actually quite common

Yes, toothbrushes can grow mold. You might not want to believe – I certainly didn’t – it but it’s actually quite common!

Mold is a type of fungus that feeds on organic matter. It will grow anywhere it has a food source and moisture, such as your shower walls or a block of old cheese.

Why Does Mold Form On Bamboo Toothbrushes?

Mold needs moisture. Without it, mold spores are unable to grow, reproduce, and spread. Unfortunately, bamboo is great at holding onto moisture for long periods of time.

Bamboo is naturally porous. This means that it absorbs and traps moisture inside. It also means that there are countless nooks and crannies for mold and bacteria to hang out in.

The microscopic trace amounts of mold and bacteria found on the average toothbrush are generally harmless. As soon as you can actually see mold forming, however, you know you have a problem.

Are Bamboo Toothbrushes More Likely To Mold Than Plastic Ones?

Mold can grow on almost any surface, including plastic! However, the presence of mold seems to be more common on bamboo toothbrushes than plastic ones.

Why is this?

As I mentioned, the main reason mold grows on bamboo is because it is porous. In contrast, plastic is non-porous. 

comparing a bamboo toothbrush and plastic toothbrush
Bamboo is naturally porous and good at holding onto moisture

While moisture can collect on the surface of a plastic toothbrush, it dries very quickly. So mold has little chance to grow before a plastic toothbrush is completely dry.

If you’ve ever left a plastic toothbrush in an airtight case (such as while traveling), you might have noticed mold start to form. This is because the case trapped moisture inside and allowed the mold to flourish.

How Do You Prevent Mold Growing On A Bamboo Toothbrush?

Even the best bamboo toothbrush can become a home for nasty mold spores. The most effective way to prevent mold from growing on any surface is to keep it dry.

Here’s how to keep your bamboo toothbrush as dry as possible and stop mold before it can form:

Towel Dry

Using a clean towel to remove excess water from your toothbrush after each use is a great way to fight the spread of mold. 

Store Upright

Storing your bamboo toothbrush upright will discourage moisture build-up and, as a result, slow down the spread of mold spores.

For the best results, we recommend storing your toothbrush in a container that allows for plenty of airflow. Avoid storing your bamboo toothbrush in an enclosed cup. Instead, choose a toothbrush holder or storage cup with drainage holes in the bottom. 

Store your toothbrush with the bristles facing up so that they stay as dry as possible. Do not place your toothbrush in a travel case or cupboard unless it is completely dry.

Alternate Toothbrushes

If you want to ensure your bamboo toothbrush dries completely after each use, you might want to use two separate ones. 

bamboo is porous and more mold prone
Alternating toothbrushes allow them to dry thoroughly

By using a different toothbrush in the morning and at night, you double the amount of time each toothbrush has to dry. This can prevent the formation of mold spores and extend the life of your toothbrushes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my bamboo toothbrush turning black from mold?

If your bamboo toothbrush is turning black, mold is the most likely culprit. Look for dark spots around the bristles or wherever your toothbrush holds the most moisture.

However, it’s also natural for bamboo and other wood products to change color with use. Your bamboo toothbrush handle might fade or darken over time — this has nothing to do with mold.

Is the mold that grows on toothbrushes dangerous?

Yes and no.

When exposed to large quantities of mold, most people will notice adverse health effects. And there’s no question that you should limit your exposure to mold spores as much as possible.

On the other hand, there’s no evidence that the mold found on toothbrushes causes physical harm to the average person. While it is gross, it’s unlikely to cause illness.

If you or a loved one has a mold allergy or compromised immune system, then the risk of using a moldy toothbrush is far greater. 

Either way, if you are feeling ill and believe you have been exposed to mold spores, it’s always best to consult a doctor.

coal bamboo toothbrush
You should limit your exposure to mold spores as much as possible

Is bamboo naturally antimicrobial?

The living bamboo plant has natural antimicrobial properties that protect it from infection. Many bamboo products claim to have these same properties.

While toothbrushes and other bamboo products might have some innate antimicrobial properties, there actually isn’t any proof that bamboo fiber holds onto this protection after it’s been cut down and processed. 

To be safe, you should treat your bamboo toothbrush as you would any other oral hygiene product. 

What should I do if I notice mold on my toothbrush?

First, don’t panic. While brushing your teeth with a moldy toothbrush is unpleasant, limited contact isn’t likely to impact your health. 

Second, replace your toothbrush immediately when you notice mold. You may be tempted to clean your toothbrush and continue using it, but there’s no way to guarantee you’ve removed all of the mold spores. 

Look for additional signs of mold growth throughout your bathroom. It’s also a good idea to sanitize any surfaces that your toothbrush has come in contact with (like countertops or toothbrush holders), regardless of visible mold.

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