You use it a couple of times a day but do you know what’s lurking on your toothbrush?
The very thing you use to clean your teeth and mouth is loaded with germs according to researchers at England’s University of Manchester. Some 100 million bacteria including the harmful E. coli that can cause diarrhea as well as staphylococci (Staph) bacteria that cause a variety of skin infections and diseases can be found in your toothbrush.
Gayle McCombs, RDH, MS, associate professor and director of the Dental Hygiene Research Center at Old Dominion University said that on any given day, your mouth contains a huge number of microorganisms.
But it is not a problem, as long as there is a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the mouth according to McCombs.
But the thing is, every time you brush your teeth, you are putting bacteria on it. “It’s important to remember that plaque — the stuff you’re removing from your teeth — is bacteria,” clarifies dentist Kimberly Harms, DDS, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association.
Now, will washing your toothbrush help? Not as much as you would hope it would says our in-house expert.
Regardless of how many bacteria your mouth harbors or have gotten there via use of dirty toothbrush your body has a natural defense that makes the chance of developing an infection from simply brushing your teeth unlikely.
“Fortunately, the human body is usually able to defend itself from bacteria,” add Harms. So we aren’t aware of any real evidence that sitting the toothbrush in your bathroom in the toothbrush holder is causing any real damage or harm. We don’t know that the bacteria on there are translating into infections,” she added. At least not YET.
But there’s another reason why your toothbrush is dirty aside from you putting bacteria on it by your regular use: the spot where you store it.
Do you know why they say don’t brush when you flush and vice versa? Because bathrooms are often small and usually the toilet is pretty close to the bathroom sink where you brush your teeth and keep it the same time, every flush in the toilet sends an invisible spray of bacteria in the air and do you know where those temporarily flying bacteria will eventually land? You already know the answer to that.
“You don’t store your plates and glasses by the toilet, so why would you want to place your toothbrush there?” McCombs follows up. “It’s just common sense to store your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible.”
Discovery’s Mythbuster also did a fun experiment on it and proven this claim and even found out that your toothbrush can be dirtier than your toilet sit.