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Latsa Advice & Resources

Ask Latsa


Q Why is it important to air-dry toothbrushes?

A. Bacteria from the mouth remain on the brush after use.  These bscteria are not eliminated when the brush is rinsed.  Most  bacteria are destroyed when oxygen in the air reaches them. The Latsa toothbrush holders and covers allow for the appropriate metho to store toothbrushes.

Q. Why should toothbrushes be stored with the handles pointed down and the bristles up?

A.  Water combines with germs and gravitates to the lowest point on the brush when it is placed in the toothbrush holder.  If the bristles are pointed down, the water and germs will end up on the bristles.

Q. How long does it take toothbrushes to dry on a day with normal humidity?

A. Brushes on a normal day take about 12 hours to completely dry because of the density and softness of the bristles.  The Latsa holder and cover facilitate the proper drying since air is able to circulate easily.

Q. Aren't the cute colorful plastic caps good to use over the bristles of the toothbrush?

A. No, because bacteria from the mouth remain on the brush after use.  These acteria are not eliminated when the brush is rinsed.  In fact, the bacteria incubate and multiply in the dark, damp and warm enfvironment that the cap provides.  Some childcare centers have been attracted to these colorful caps thinking that they protect the brushes.  Please be aware that the use of these caps on the toothbrushes, will not allow the toothbrushes to dry regardless of how many holes are in the cap.  There is just not enough air circulation inside the cap to adequately dry the bristles and prevent bacteria from multiplying.

Q. Should I replace a toothbrush that a child has dropped on the floor?

A. It is best to be safe. Dispose of the toothbrush and replace it.

Q. Should I replace a toothbrush when a child returns to class after being ill?

A. Yes. The illness might have been in the incubation stage when the child last used it.

Q. How should I instruct children to care for their toothbrushes after each use?

A. Rinse the toothbrush, remove all the toothpaste and place in a toothbrush holder where it can air-dry thoroughly.

Q. I have heard that toothbrushes should be disinfected with chlorine bleach or running them through the dishwasher. Is that a good method to keep from having to replace toothbrushes so often?

A. No, putting the toothbrush in hot water in the dishwasher or under the faucet, will reduce the life of the brush. Bleaching the toothbrush leaves a chlorine residue on the bristles which affects the taste the next time the brush is used.

Q. Should children be encouraged to remove their brush from the toothbrush holder?

A. No, the possibility of touching or taking the wrong toothbrush is too great. The toothbrush should be removed and replaced by an adult.

Q. Is cross-contamination a concern in toothbrush storage?

A. Yes, adequate space should be maintained between toothbrushes in order to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination.

Q. If my classroom has a problem with creepy crawlers (insects), what should I do to prevent them from crawling on the toothbrushes after hours?

A. Place the toothbrush holders in the screen bag cover that has been designed specifically for that purpose. The Latsa covers allow the necessary air-drying and prevent contamination by the insects.


Information on Requirements and Standards:

Information on Caring for Toothbrushes in the Classroom:

Links to other health information sites:

Pinatta's View Pinatta and her puppet band use music, unusual glasses called "boggle  goggles" and a child's perspective, "40" from the floor", to practice and then take a trip to a real dentist.


Healthy Child Care Publication Internet site and publication with health and safety information for young children at home or in childcare.