The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

Do You Know What’s Secretly Hidden on Your Toothbrush?

According to researchers, there are more than 100 million bacteria living on your toothbrush, including E. coli and Staph bacteria. The University of Alabama at Birmingham also found fecal bacteria on the toothbrush.

Mouthful of Bacteria

All this sounds terrible, but you don’t have to panic. Your mouth is also full of bacteria. A toothbrush may not make you sick, but there are many ways to keep it clean and healthy. “Every day there are hundreds of microorganisms in our mouths,” said, the director of the Dental Hygiene Research Center of the Old Autonomous University. Even dental plaque (that you want to brush off from your teeth) is a type of bacteria. Unless the bacteria in the oral cavity are unbalanced, these will not cause people’s attention. 

How Brushing Your Teeth Hurts

  1. Thomas Glass, professor of dentistry and pathology, said that brushing teeth, especially with electric toothbrushes, can actually push bacteria into the gums. Most of these bacteria already exist in your mouth, so you may not get sick from them. However, if someone else uses your toothbrush (or you use another person’s toothbrush), bacteria may spread.  The only worry is the recurring disease. He said: “When your resistance is low, this becomes clinically important”.

Can Your Toothbrush Make You Sick?

Your own toothbrush cannot make you sick. Even if your brush is covered with bacteria, your immune system can usually take care of any bacterial invaders. However, you should still care for the toothbrush properly and keep it clean. 

Never Brush Where You Flush

The location where the toothbrush is stored in the bathroom is important. In most bathrooms, the toilet is very close to the sink, where most people wash their toothbrushes. Every time you flush, bacteria are released into the air and you don’t want these bacteria to get attach to the toothbrush. It is common sense to store toothbrushes as far away from the toilet as possible. If possible, store them in a medicine cabinet and always close the toilet lid before flushing to minimize the spread of bacteria on the toothbrush.

Toothbrush Holders

The toothbrush holder can also absorb bacteria spread during toilet flushing. A study by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) found that toothbrush holders are the third-highest bacterial household item (after dishwashing sponges and kitchen sinks). Remember to clean the toothbrush holder regularly to remove bacteria. 

Toothbrush Storage Tips

After moving the toothbrush as far as possible from the toilet and cleaning the toothbrush holder, here are some storage tips to keep the toothbrush as sterile as possible:

  • Please rinse the toothbrush thoroughly with tap water every time you use it.
  • Allow the toothbrush to dry thoroughly between brushing. 
  • Place the toothbrush upright in the holder instead of lying down.
  • Never use someone else’s toothbrush, and don’t let others use your toothbrush.
  • Separate the toothbrush from other toothbrushes. If the toothbrushes touch each other then they can exchange bacteria. 

When to Toss Your Toothbrush

The ADA recommends replacing the toothbrush every three to four months. If the bristles are worn out, sick, or the immune system is weakened, the toothbrush should be replaced more frequently. For electric toothbrushes, as with conventional disposable toothbrushes, the toothbrush heads should be frequently replaced. Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced more frequently than adult toothbrushes. 

Practice Good Oral Care

Remember, “bacteria can cause gum disease, rot, and bad breath,” said Kimberly Harms, a dentist at DDS, an ADA consumer consultant. Harms recommends brushing and flossing as much as possible, and gargle with an antibacterial mouthwash before brushing to eliminate bacteria before they enter the toothbrush. 

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