You brush your teeth to get rid of germs and bacteria in your mouth, but did you know you may be introducing more into it than you’re clearing away? If your toothbrush sits out in the open, especially near a sink or a toilet, you’re probably using a contaminated one.

Potty Mouth

Every time you flush the toilet, moisture droplets can become airborne. The contaminants in that spray can reach as high as 10 inches and spread to any surface in between. That means your toothbrush, minding its own business in a cup in the corner, is susceptible to nasty bacteria and viruses. The bottom line: close the lid before you flush, store it somewhere that is protected like a drawer, or move it farther away from the toilet.

Sinking Feeling

The corner perch is dangerous every time you wash your hands as well. Walk into any public restroom and you’ll notice how much water and soap gets splashed around when hands are washed. That same mess is sprinkling around your sink and onto your brush.

Don’t Even Think About It

If you feel sharing a toothbrush isn’t a big deal, try again: the average mouth has up to 200 types of bacteria in it, and that’s after scrubbing. Your toothpaste is also a great source for sharing germs. Each time you wipe the paste onto your brush, you are pressing on material from the previous person’s toothbrush. To keep everyone healthier, especially if someone is sick, give everyone their own tube.

Get Some Air

Covering you toothbrush may seem like the only recourse. While keeping it protected is a good idea, don’t smother it. Avoid using plastic caps or containers, like travel cases, because the brush will stay wet and mold can grow. Instead, try putting it away in a cabinet or drawer so it can be shielded and dry out.

Brushing your teeth is supposed to be good for your health, but introducing germs can do the opposite. Taking a few simple steps can help you prevent dodgy microbes from going into your mouth.