Researchers from the Quinnipiac University in Hamden (Connecticut) warn people who share their bathroom with many personse that their toothbrushes may have fecal bacteria on them. At a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology researchers presented a study according to which 60% of the toothbrushes which were analyzed in the study texted positive for the fecal coliform bacteria.
The investigators analyzed the toothbrushes of students who studied at Quinnipiac University and used communal bathrooms which had approximately more than nine users per bathroom. The percentage of 60% was obtained without taking into account the storage methods of the toothbrushes.
Fecal coliform bacteria are part of our everyday life. They exist in natural waterways and on our bodies. There is no problem with an individual’s own coliforms. However researchers said that your gut is not used to somebody else’s bacteria in. And this research indicates that if you share a bathroom there are 80% chances that the bacteria on you toothbrush is from somebody else, not from you.
The lead author of the study, Laura Aber, who graduated from the university where the study was conducted remarked:
“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.”
Unfortunately according to the research there is no effective method to clean the toothbrushes. Using mouthwash or hot water for rinsing will not work. Neither a toothbrush cover will protect your toothbrush from bacteria growth. On the contrary, according to Aber the cover creates an environment which makes the bacteria flourish because it keeps the bristles moist and it does not allow the head of the toothbrush to dry when you do not use it.
The American Dental Association shared some tips about how to take care of your toothbrush. You should not share your toothbrush with somebody else. The toothbrush should be thoroughly rinsed with tap water after washing your teeth in order to remove any debris or remaining toothpaste. Also the toothbrush should not be kept in closed spaces and it should be replaced at least every three or four months.
The association also said that for now the clinical evidence is not sufficient enough to draw the conclusion that bacteria which grow on toothbrushes could lead to any oral or health affections.
Image Source: NY Post