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Why you should sanitize your toothbrushes during allergy season

May 22, 2024
Seeing a lot of patients with seasonal allergies? Sanitizing toothbrushes with a UV light can help—here's how it works.

Now that spring is in full swing, you may notice an influx of patients experiencing seasonal allergies. Whether it is through medicines such as decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal sprays — or more natural remedies like diffusers or essential oils — most allergy remedies tend to treat symptoms rather than prevent them.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, allergens such as tree pollen, mold, and other spores have worsened over the past several decades due to warming temperatures and other environmental factors.1 As airborne allergens increase and symptoms worsen, it’s important to consider new ways to help your patients. 

How do allergens enter the body?

Allergens spread through the air and settle on surfaces such as furniture, floors, and appliances, entering the body through physical touch or inhalation. Because of this, your spring cleaning routine may do more harm than good, as allergens that have already settled on common surfaces can re-enter the air and populate new places, including your toothbrush.2

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), germs and bacteria remain on toothbrushes even after rinsing, which raises the risk of illness or infection — especially for people with compromised immune systems.3 Toothbrushes harboring allergens directly enter the user’s body when they brush, typically without them even realizing. 

Sanitizing with UVC LED lights

A toothbrush can be sanitized by rinsing it in cold water, submerging it in mouthwash, and storing it in a concealed upright position — or using a UVC LED light.  

UVC LED light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that uses light to disinfect bacteria, viruses and allergens.4 UVC light and other types of ultraviolet rays are used in medical practices to sanitize tools and materials to prevent the spread of bacteria that could exacerbate illnesses.

Since high-intensity UV light can modify proteins, UVC LEDs can make the substance of an allergen non-allergenic.5 This means UVC LED light can be used to prevent the spread of bacteria and eliminate allergens. Stopping the allergen before it enters the body offers a new defense mechanism against pesky seasonal allergies.

This treatment has become more popular among consumers looking to disinfect their homes. Brands now offer sanitizers with UVC LEDs to clean products like phones, packaging, toys, and oral care products like toothbrushes. These sanitizers typically have a feature to automatically sterilize every few hours and use levels of UVC light to kill bacteria on the toothbrush’s surface. Oclean, for example, created the Oclean S1 Toothbrush UVC Sanitizer, which uses UVC-LEDs to sterilize up to five toothbrushes simultaneously with a 99.9% effectivity rate.  

The importance of keeping clean

Prioritizing oral care is the key to fighting allergy symptoms. A simple sore throat can cause bad breath, dry mouth can lead to cavities, and inflamed sinuses can cause mouth or tooth pain.6 For these reasons, proper oral care should be top of mind year-round and staple in every patient’s health and wellness routine. As the season wears on, talk to your patients about prevention over treatment and how to reap the benefits of UVC LED lights. 

By eliminating the spread of allergens before they enter the body, allergy sufferers can minimize their symptoms and breathe with ease.  



  1. Balch B. Do seasonal allergies seem to be getting worse? Blame climate change. AAMC. April 2024. 

  1. Control indoor allergens. Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America. Reviewed September 2015. 

  1. Use & handling of toothbrushes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last reviewed March 2016.  

  1. Gillespie C. UV sanitizers make bold claims-but do they actually work?” Health, Health, September 2023.  

  1. Lah EFC, Raja Musa RNA, Ming HT. Effect of germicidal UV-C light (254 Nm) on eggs and adult of house dustmites, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides Farinae (Astigmata: Pyroglyhidae). Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012;2(9):679–683. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60209-3 

  1. How seasonal allergies affect your oral health: UK College of Dentistry. Updated March 2018.

Zhang Meng serves as the director of the oral care brand, Oclean, Digital Oral Health Research Institution. Zhang is a certified health manager and an oral health ambassador for China’s Oral Health Foundation.

About the Author

Zhang Meng

Zhang Meng serves as the director of the oral care brand, Oclean, Digital Oral Health Research Institution. Zhang is a certified health manager and an oral health ambassador for China’s Oral Health Foundation.