We appreciate that this is not the most enticing of headlines for one of our blog posts, but the subject matter is important, so please bear with us. A recent study by researchers at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, analyzed toothbrushes owned by students who used communal bathrooms.
More than six out of every ten toothbrushes
No matter how the brushes were stored, the researchers found that more than six out of every ten toothbrushes were contaminated with fecal matter. Added to this was an 80% chance that the contamination was from another bathroom user, rather than the owner of that toothbrush. Incidentally, a science experiment shown on TV in the UK also highlighted that the spray from a toilet bowl flush could reach toothbrushes kept several feet away!
Medical specialists are not as concerned about this being your own waste, but, in communal situations, someone could become infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites from other toilet users. Personally, we’d not really want our own ‘stuff’ anywhere near our toothbrushes either!
With this information in mind, our team here at Southeast Family Dental thought we would offer some advice:
- Appreciate that simply rinsing your toothbrush before use is unlikely to remove such material
- Store your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet or drawer. If neither is an option, it should be kept as far away from the toilet bowl as possible
- Avoid toothbrush covers as this simply replaces one problem with another as they stop your toothbrush from drying, making it more likely that bacteria will form
- Change your toothbrush on a regular basis—perhaps even monthly—if there is any possibility of such contamination
We said at the start that this wasn’t the most enticing of topics, but we’re sure you’ll now appreciate its importance. If you have any questions, please contact our friendly team of professionals.