A toothbrush does an excellent job of keeping our teeth clean and pearly white. But did you know that your toothbrush can harbour as many as 1.2 million bacteria? According to a New York State Dental Journal, 70% of used toothbrushes have bacteria and germs, such as the flu virus, staph bacteria, strep virus, E.coli, and yeast fungus. This makes many people wonder if toothbrushes can really make someone sick.
Although a toothbrush is one of the essentials for maintaining a good oral health, using a germ-riddled toothbrush can potentially cause health issues. However, with your immune system and good hygiene habits, your toothbrush can unlikely make you sick. However, there is a slim possibility that bacteria can break through our defenses.
UAMS Oral Health Clinic director, Dr. David Stillwell, said that germ problem lies in where and how you store your toothbrush. Many of us store our toothbrushes in the bathroom. However, bathrooms make a perfect place for bacteria to grow due to its steamy and moist atmosphere.
Here are some prevention tips to reduce the risk of getting sick:
● Keep it dry always. Bacteria thrive in moist places. Dry your toothbrush thoroughly after each brushing. Avoid using a toothbrush cover because it creates a moisture-enclosed breeding place for bacteria. Alternating two brushes helps ensure that you are using a completely dry toothbrush.
● Keep the toothbrush away from the toilet. Bacteria can be propelled into the air and land on objects placed near the toilet each time you flush. Store toothbrush away from the toilet and make sure to cover the lid after each use.
● Wash your hand before brushing. Keeping the hands clean is one of the most critical steps to take in preventing sickness and spreading of germs.
● Keep it for yourself. Do not share your toothbrush with other members of the household. Also, avoid storing it side by side with other toothbrushes in the same cup. It can swap germs when they come in contact with others.
● Use the right toothpaste. Toothpastes do not only fight bacteria in our mouths — they also help kill germs in toothbrushes as well.
● Rinse it with hot water. Hot boiling water can kill the germs thriving in the bristles. Fill a cup with hot water and submerge the toothbrush for a few minutes to ensure that it is free from germs and bacteria.
Changing your toothbrush on a regular basis is the best way to control bacteria and prevent you from getting sick. Dental professionals recommend replacing the toothbrush every three to four months. Once the bristles become frayed or you are becoming sick, change it more often.
Moreover, the best way to protect yourself and maintain optimum oral health is visiting your trusted dentist every six months. Make sure to visit a dental health care professional dental care practitioner in Ontario, like Lambton Shores Family Dental in Forest, 14th Avenue Dental in Markham, and Southcommon Dental in Mississauga.