Your toothbrush might not be as clean as you think. This is especially true if you are using communal bathrooms with other people. Turns out that your toothbrush might contain traces of fecal matter, which can pose a serious hazard for your health.
The chances of the fecal matter on your toothbrush originating from another person can be as high as 80 per cent when you share the bathroom with someone else.
For the study, researchers analyzed toothbrushes from Quinnipiac students. These students were, on average, sharing a bathroom with eight other people. Researchers found that it did not matter how the toothbrush was kept or stored as 60 per cent of the toothbrushes were found contaminated with fecal matter.
Lauren Aber of the Quinnipiac University and the lead author of the study said, “The main area of concern was your toothbrush being contaminated with the fecal matter coming from another person and not from you as this will contain bacteria, parasites and viruses that are not a part of your normal flora.”
The effectiveness of methods used to clean toothbrushes did not matter.
Researchers also added that a toothbrush cover did little to protect brushes from fecal matter. In fact, when you keep your toothbrush covered, the bristles remain moist and allow the bacteria to thrive in a more suitable environment. It is important to allow the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses.
Aber said, “Better hygiene practices are recommended for students who share bathrooms both in the storage of their toothbrush but also in personal hygiene.”
The American Dental Association recommends that toothbrushes should never be shared. It is important to let the toothbrush dry out after use and changing a toothbrush every four months is a must.
Researchers said that these finding were at an initial stage and were preliminary.
The findings of the study are presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in New-Orleans.