You probably don’t give a lot of thought to your toothbrush until you notice the bristles getting frayed or flattened out. Then you go to the drugstore, pick up a new one and go home and place it in the cute family toothbrush mug on the counter in your bathroom.
What's Wrong with This Picture?
There are so many things wrong with this scenario, let’s start at the top.
First, your toothbrush shouldn’t be like a pair of shoes you break in and wear forever because they’re comfortable. A worn or frayed toothbrush isn’t doing much to clean your teeth properly, wasting a lot of your effort. But it gets worse.
Your mouth harbors hundreds of different microorganisms that can transfer to your toothbrush. Storing your toothbrush in the same container as your family exposes you all to the same germs. And if you borrow someone’s toothbrush, viruses that cause herpes and hepatitis can be transferred to you because studies have found that they can linger for months on a toothbrush. But it gets worse.
Do you store your brush in the same room with your toilet? If so, you should know that a study conducted in 2015 by researchers at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut found that 60 percent of toothbrushes tested were covered in fecal matter. But it gets worse – there’s only a 20 percent chance that it’s your own.
Protect Your Family
If you’re still reading this and haven’t run to your bathroom to throw your brush away, there are three takeaways:
- Replace your brush every three months or when the bristles start to fray.
- Avoid cross-contamination by storing your family’s toothbrushes in the same container.
- If you must store your toothbrushes in the bathroom, get in the habit of closing the lid when you flush, and make sure your family does the same.
Call Us for More Helpful Tips
Your dentist in Kalaheo is an invaluable source of information, and we encourage you to call us with your questions. If it’s time for an exam and cleaning or you just have questions about oral health habits, please call us to arrange a time to stop by and visit.