Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sharing is nice but not with your toothbrush….

Have you ever found yourself staying at a friend or family member’s house and simply borrowing their toothbrush? Or have you found yourself letting someone close to you use your toothbrush? You might want to think twice!

Recurring dental infections are commonly caused from infected toothbrushes. A toothbrush may be infected with various viruses and bacteria, which then can be transmitted to a new user. A toothbrush also carries tiny food particles hidden within the bristles that are naked to the human eye.

The facts about your toothbrush:

L    Your dental toothbrush can be full of influenza virus, herpes simplex I, streptococci, staphylococci and bacteria that cause gum disease, cavities, and even diarrhea illness.

L    Viruses and bacteria can survive and even thrive on a toothbrush.

L    If you have had a cold sore, 50% of the cold sore virus can remain on the brush for a week potentially infecting someone who uses your brush.

L    Research has shown that children who share toothbrushes with each other are at a higher risk for developing infection and getting tooth decay compared to children who do not share toothbrushes. That even includes sharing with an adult.

There are several methods to cleaning toothbrushes. You can soak it in peroxide or scrub it with your fingers and toothpaste every few weeks. If you have shared your toothbrush with someone in the past we suggest throwing it away and starting new. You may also want to allow your toothbrush ‘room to breathe’ after each use.  Keeping a wet brush in a contained area, such as a carrying case can harbor additional bacteria.   After you have been ill, it is a good idea to change your toothbrush.  Store your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as your space allows.  The recommended amount of time to change to a new toothbrush is every 4-6 months!  A new toothbrush is always complimentary with your six month hygiene visit. 

-Kalli Flaherty


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