Inside the mouth they nestle billions of microbes (e.g. bacteria, fungi), collectively called the oral microbiome. Each person’s set of microbes is different – it’s like a fingerprint – and in a healthy mouth, that’s it microbiome it must be in balance. The toothbrush has a very close correlation with the oral microbiome. Brushing your teeth causes millions of microbes to stick to the bristles.
While brushing the teeth, the i debris in the mouth, considering germs and viruses and any bleeding gums. All of this material ends up transferring to the toothbrush. In this sense, using someone else’s toothbrush will transfer all this oral matter from one mouth to another due to contamination between the bristles which will introduce microbes associated with tooth decay and gum disease in your own mouth.
Toothbrush and oral hygiene: summary
- Don’t share your toothbrush
- Don’t share the same mouthwash
- Use toothbrushes with soft and not too thick bristles
- The bristles become contaminated with germs, bacteria and blood which is transferred from mouth to mouth
- Replace the toothbrush at least every three months
- Replace your toothbrush after having the flu, gum infections or Covid
- Don’t keep multiple toothbrushes nearby
- Do not keep the toothbrush near the sink or near the toilet to avoid any splashes
- Wash the bristles with warm water before proceeding with cleaning the teeth
Oral hygiene: do not share a toothbrush
Sharing a toothbrush necessarily involves a transfer of germs and bacteria. You will not always develop tooth decay or gum disease, as these are problems that arise from multifactorial causes, such as the underlying immune system, your oral microbiome. It should be noted that bacteria tend to grow and thrive inside the mouth. For this reason, as experts in dental hygiene advise, it is best to avoid sharing a toothbrush with a family member or friend.
Pay attention also to the toothbrush holder: the study
Other oral hygiene best practices include making sure you store your toothbrushes separately. In an October 2020 study of home oral hygiene habits during the COVID-19published in BMC Oral Health, only 3% of people shared a toothbrush, but the 64% used the same container to contain everyone’s toothbrushes, which could also facilitate cross-contamination of the virus.
When you come into contact with a virus, be it from Covid or seasonal flu, or temporarily suffer from a gum infection, it is advisable not to keep your toothbrush next to that of others, and change it once the bacterial infection has resolved. using one “free” from contamination.
Bacteria in saliva
The bacteria which are then easily transferred to the bristles of the toothbrush hide, among others, under the gums which could bleed when brushing when the plaque breaks down (in this regard it is essential to solve the problem with the help of your dentist). The saliva will therefore also contain blood, and will contaminate the toothbrush.
While not all bacteria are harmful, some like it staphylococcus and theEscherichia colican lead to infections and diseases. The toothbrush therefore represents a potential vector for the spread of bacteria and viruses that cause pathologies such as sore throats and colds, but also herpes, pneumonia, Covid, HIV and HPV
Did you know that…
A study conducted by the University of Manchester has shown that toothbrushes are a real den of germs and bacteria. Just think that they can accumulate more than 10 million bacteriamore than even those found on a toilet seat or on the floor.
Warnings and Advice
If you don’t have a toothbrush while traveling or visiting friends, don’t share it with anyone else. Instead, it is advisable to put a small amount of toothpaste on the obviously clean finger, and rub, or use a clean cloth and finally rinse with mouthwash and use dental floss. However, even these last oral hygiene products should not be shared, especially mouthwash as, often, one leans the mouth against the bottle to rinse.
After using a toothbrush, rinse it with water to remove any toothpaste or debris, then store it upright so it can air dry, which makes it less likely for bacteria to grow than using a cover for toothbrush.
To keep your toothbrush clean and away from germs, you should:
- Dip the toothbrush in mouthwash after brushing
- Keep it away from the toilet to prevent splashes from reaching the bristles
- Prefer toothbrushes with soft and not very dense bristles (dirt and bacteria will have more difficulty nesting)
- To avoid the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms, it is recommended to change the toothbrush every 12 weeks