We've seen the videos and pictures of regular household items that get kind of grungy in places we don't think to look, like the seal on the rim of a Yeti-type insulated cup, or the magnetic seal around the door of the refrigerator or dishwasher. Here's another one that might turn your stomach: your electric toothbrush.

I have the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, and I thought that I was cleaning it well after each use. I would brush my teeth, rinse the bristles and stem, and then stand it in the holder/charger. Then one day, all of that changed.

It was a Sunday morning. The birds were singing outside the open window, the dogs were still snuggled in the bed, and the coffee was already brewing. It was time for my morning brush, maybe my most favorite part of my morning routine.

After I applied toothpaste to the bristles of the toothbrush and it started its journey toward my mouth, a slight aroma hit me before the toothbrush made it's landing on my molars. I backed the brush out of my mouth and then gave it a sniff around the cap that holds the replaceable brush head to the handle. Something was amiss, and I could smell it.

Now before you get too grossed out, I replace the brush head regularly (every few months, as recommended by the manufacturer, or when the color on the bristles wears off), so to have it not smelling right concerned me.

I opened up the toothbrush, and what I found surprised and disgusted me (and, now that I am showing it to the world, it slightly embarrasses me, too).

Under the rubber gasket/seal thingy, this is what I found.

Townsquare Media Photo by John Falcon
Townsquare Media Photo by John Falcon

That was after less than 2 months of use on that brush head. Was the gasket leaking? Did too much water get between the gasket and the brush head? I have no clue, but seeing this made me change the way I treat my toothbrush.

Now, after brushing, I remove the brush head from the handle and allow both to air dry while I am at work, and then again overnight after I brush my teeth before bed.

I also take apart the brush head each week and wipe it down with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol.

If you use an electric toothbrush, check under that gasket!



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