Toothbrush Tales: What’s Living on Your Toothbrush?
Scary stories abound in the microscopic universe, where critters and creatures cause all sorts of dastardly dilemmas. Toothbrush tales: What’s living on your toothbrush? Germs and bacteria can inhabit the bristles of your toothbrush. Yes, even the influenza virus can live within this environment under the right circumstances. Streptococci and staphylococci, two names you do not want to meet on a dark night in the back of your throat, are not unknown guests at the Hotel Toothbrush. Let us not forget Herpes Simplex 1, as well, another viral visitor with foul intentions. The germ world spreads its highly influential reach upon our health via such familiar instruments as our well worn toothbrushes. The wet features of bathrooms are ideal for the prevalence of bacteria and other microorganisms. We brush and discard our toothbrush back in its vessel with nary a thought for what it gets up to in our absence. If we could suddenly see in magnified technicolour glory all the gory details few of us would fail to faint, I confidently speculate. It is lucky for us that we are blind to much of this amazingly minute existence.
“Your toothbrush is loaded with germs, say researchers at England’s University of Manchester. They’ve found that one uncovered toothbrush can harbour more than 100 million bacteria, including E. coli bacteria, which can cause diarrhoea, and staphylococci (“Staph”) bacteria that cause skin infections.”
Tiny Beasties Feasting On Your Bristles
Whilst doing research for this Toothbrush Tales article we came upon this pearl of wisdom.
“Don’t brush where you flush!”
It may well be particularly pertinent in this current housing crisis, where rents are ginormous and rental apartments are shrinking ever smaller. The studio space where ablutions are carried out in a one metre square area may lend itself to such predicaments and timely warnings. We are living at a time when many of us cannot afford to reside in our own nation. The rapacious economic settings are chewing us all down to the bone. None of the third of Australians who rent can afford to get sick via the germs on our toothbrushes. So, please pay attention and read on.
A Toothbrush, Not By Any Other Name, May Be Infected
Think of another name for the toothbrush. There are not many, if any. Your oral care appliance. This does not slip off the tongue with any degree of grace or familiarity, does it? Hey Honey, can you pass me my oral care appliance, please. Who knows what might come your way following this request. Dental brush, apparently, is another, but no one I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in any moments in the shared bathroom space has titled it as such. Oral hygiene tool. Oh boy, I have never known a boy or girl or non-binary other who has ever referred to their toothbrush as an oral hygiene tool – what about you? Language like this can spoil the moment, especially after the event. It can infect life’s intimacy with more than just a few trillion bacteria or the odd virus. Talk about shared oral hygiene tools.
Sharing Oral Hygiene Tools In The Morning
Have you ever had a date where the prominent other has requested if they can use your toothbrush? Our mothers always used to advise … something about ensuring we were wearing clean underwear and not sharing our dental brushes with strangers. Of course, if you have spent the evening in passionate embraces and exploring the oral cavities of your plus one, then, perhaps such well meaning maternal advice may have missed the mark.
How Many Germs are in a Tongue Kiss?
“Every time you share a long kiss with your partner, you transfer 80 million bacteria to his or her mouth. That’s the somewhat icky conclusion of a new study of 21 intimate couples at a zoo in Amsterdam. When scientists swabbed the mouths of the participants before and after they locked lips, they didn’t detect a huge change in the bacterial composition—or microbiota—of their mouths. That could be because the couples had already kissed so many times, they had become home to the same bacterial populations. It could also be that people who fall in love have similar lifestyles and similar diets, which can influence the mouth’s microbiota. To estimate just how many bacteria are transferred during make-out sessions, the team asked the volunteers for one more kiss, right after one of the partners had been drinking a probiotic yogurt, which is filled with bacteria not commonly found in the mouth. The test revealed that people transfer about 80 million bacteria to each other during a kiss, as the team reports today in Microbiome. That may sound like a lot, but the mouth is home to about a billion bacteria. So perhaps it’s not so icky after all.”
Is Periodontal Disease Contagious?
The short answer is yes, periodontal disease is contagious because it can spread from one person to another. To be more specific, it spreads through saliva. That means the chances of contracting periodontal disease from someone else increases if you drink out of the same cup, kiss, or share utensils with them.
– Piedmont Oaks Dental
And that very much goes for sharing your toothbrush also.
What Can We Do To Reduce The Germ Danger On Our Dental Brush?
Unlike Donald Trump during the Covid pandemic we are not going to advise any use of bleach for oral purposes. The toothbrush first and foremost should only have a lifespan of 3 to 4 months maximum, according to dental experts. It pays to regularly replace your dental care brush for two main reasons. Firstly, it reduces the risk of germ and bacteria build-up on your oral hygiene tool. Secondly, the effectiveness of your bristles pall after 3 months. You are not getting the bang for your buck toothbrush wise after the 12-week period. Reminder to self – replace toothbrush immediately!
Keeping your toothbrush dry following its use brushing your teeth is the practical advice on the day to day, hour to hour level, for reducing the volume of potentially dangerous microbes and germs on your oral care instrument. Bathrooms are wet areas and are full of damp moments. Perhaps, you could place your dental care brushes in the sunlight after use. If there is a bathroom window offering such access to the sun’s rays, then, this would be the go. Failing this opportunity within your home, perhaps, you could store your toothbrush elsewhere in a room with a view of our galaxy’s star. Dry is the key thing here, however, and this may be achieved in a variety of ways.
Don’t lie it down! Keep your brush in the upright position when not in use. Store your oral hygiene tool with the brush up in the air, rather than down amid the scummy stuff at the bottom of that cup. Yes, I know it is all fairly obvious stuff but you would be surprised at what some folks get up to in the shadowy realm of bad bathrooms. Toothbrush tales: What’s living on your toothbrush? It is in the banalities of life where some of the real horror stories abide.
1. Change your toothbrush for a new one every 3 months.
2. Keep your dental brush dry after using it.
3. Make sure you rest your toothbrush in the upright position with bristles to the sky.
4. Sunlight is a great natural sanitiser for your oral hygiene tool.
5. Do not bleach the bristles on your brush.
Do not dip your toothbrush in bleach for the sanitising effect, as it can be dangerous to your health. There are sanitisers available on the market for this exact purpose. Always check the list of ingredients used in their concoction for safety sake. Yes, they do kill germs but avoid putting too many chemicals in your mouth by way of overdoing this whole sanitising thing. Our mouths are delicate biological eco systems and you want to treat your oral cavity with the careful respect it deserves. Remember natural sunlight is best to sanitise your toothbrush.
The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. My Dentist does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the content.
The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional personal diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental or medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read or seen on the Site.