Did you brush your teeth today? Have you, or yet to? Whatever! How often do you even do it? Once? Twice? Or as you deem fit? Not at all? We don’t think so. However, regularly brushing your teeth is as important as how often you replace your toothbrush; and if you’re wondering that’s kinda odd. How often do you replace any personal item you have? You get it! According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should swap out your toothbrush every three to four months.
Related media: How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
This Is The Way I Brush My Teeth
In a 2015 study by the Quinnipiac University, researchers found that toothbrushes in communal bathrooms can become contaminated with fecal matter. Having your toothbrush around other people’s contaminants is a dangerous thing. There are microorganisms that contaminate your toothbrush whenever you use them. These include enterobacteriaceae and pseudomonads, which both originate in your gut and are transferred unto your brush as you use it.
Enterobacteriaceae (or enteric bacteria), are a colony of bacteria that are typically found in the gut. They are also known to ferment glucose, fail to contain cytochrome in an oxidase test and many can reduce nitrates to nitrites.
Pseudomonas are a group of bacteria that are gram-negative aerobic rods typically found in soil, water, plants and animals. They are also part of the normal flora of the gut and also on the skin of humans. That’s sounds gross enough already if you haven’t brush your teeth yet.
Hey There, We Need Your Toothbrush
For the study, the researchers recruited … participants who often use communal restrooms (an average of 9.4 occupants per restroom), and took their toothbrushes instead. The toothbrushes were later examined for the amount of fecal matter that was deposited on each one of them. Regardless of their storage method, at least 60 percent of the toothbrushes collected from participants were contamination with fecal coliforms — a sort of … .
In addition, there was no difference with the levels of decontamination on the toothbrushes, neither by cold nor hot water, nor rinsing with a mouthwash, and 100 percent of all toothbrushes with regular mouthwash rinse, indicated fecal contamination.
Fecal coliforms were seen on 55 percent of toothbrushes, which had been seen in previous studies. There is an 80 percent chance that the fecal coliforms seen on the toothbrushes came from another person using the same bathroom.
“The main concern is not with the presence of your own fecal matter on your toothbrush, but rather when a toothbrush is contaminated with fecal matter from someone else, which contains bacteria, viruses or parasites that are not part of your normal flora,” said Lauren Aber, MHS, graduate student of Quinnipiac University, and the study’s led author, in a statement.
Change Your Brush, Keeps The Breath Afresh
“Using a toothbrush cover doesn’t protect a toothbrush from bacterial growth, but actually creates an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the bristles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses,” said Aber.
“Better hygiene practices are recommended for students who share bathrooms both in the storage of their toothbrush but also in personal hygiene,” she says.
Its also recommended to follow the ADA’s recommendations for toothbrush hygiene. According to the ADA, you should swap out your toothbrush every three to four months (the same time you change your clothes). Your toothbrush is more gross than you’d imagine. Since the 1920s, scientists have long suspected that the reuse of toothbrushes could pose a threat in oral infections.
Having your toothbrush stored openly in the restroom lies the vulnerability of it being contaminated with all sorts of stuff ranging from the toilet to other occupants simply mishandling your toothbrush. So the next time you pick up your toothbrush from a communal restroom, note that as you clean your teeth, you also make it gross. You gotta swap it later.
Source: Quinnipiac University / American Society for Microbiology.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Tue, Nov 10, 2020.