The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

    Is your toothbrush really that innocent?

    Homes are getting smaller and smaller to accommodate a rapidly increasing population bathrooms are getting smaller and smaller. I remember staying in a London flat where my head was literally in the shower while I was sitting on the loo. One things for sure, homes are certainly not going to get any bigger so bathroom sizes will get smaller and smaller. 


    As the bathroom size get smaller and smaller so does the relationship between your toothbrush and your toilet. It should be the case that never the two shall meet as it were but in today’s society it seems it is something that cannot be avoided. It is a fact that each time you flush the toilet it releases an aerosol spray of tiny water droplets, which are tainted with fecal matter. These particles can travel in height up to 10 inches above the toilet seat and remain airborne long enough to settle on surfaces throughout the bathroom. An experiment was conducted where by 24 toothbrushes were scattered around a single bathroom. Two of the toothbrushes were used each morning and the remaining 22 toothbrushes were rinsed every day for a month. During the same month, two further toothbrushes were kept in an office far away from the bathroom. At the end of the month’s trial the toothbrushes were sent to a microbiologist for bacterial testing. Extraordinarily, all of the toothbrushes including the two that had never seen the inside of a bathroom were speckled with microscopic fecal matter. The experiment unfortunately proved that there is indeed fecal matter on toothbrushes and also everywhere else in your home. It's time to face the fact that your toothbrush is likely to have poop on it. In fact studies show there is a 60% chance your toothbrush is covered in poop and around 80% chance that the poop belongs to someone else! 


    It is important to put things into context. The average toothbrush can contain 10 million bacteria or more including E.coli. At the same time it is considered normal for 100-200 species of oral bacterial to be living in your mouth. This is the same amount of germs as a bathroom floor that has not been cleaned in a while. Although it is impossible to eradicate germs on your toothbrush you can help to maintain it's health by reducing the exposure to unnecessary germs and remember the following:


    If you store your toothbrush on or next to the sink, it can be contaminated from the splashing of water when washing your hands and face. Whatever you are washing off can be transferred to your toothbrush. Try to keep your toothbrush in the bathroom cabinet and as far away from germs as possible.


    Always flush the toilet with the lid closed and prevent unnecessary germs from travelling around your bathroom.


    Your toothbrush is not a tomato that you have accidently dropped on the floor in Sainsburys. If you drop your toothbrush on the bathroom floor the five-second rule does not apply. It is coming into contact with toilet spray particles that have settled on the floor along with anything else that has been brought in on your shoes. Make sure you clean your toothbrush on a regular basis. Although you will never remove all the bacteria, it will help if you soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide or a mouthwash with an antibacterial agent once a week or in cases where your toothbrush hits the floor.


    If your toothbrush came with a plastic cover this can cause your toothbrush to dry out between brushing, which can encourage mold growth.


    If you store your families toothbrushes together, the bacteria can spread from one to the other if the heads are touching. In all households people get sick and it is very easy for the illness to spread between your toothbrushes. In the same way if you have a habit of sucking the toothpaste out of the tube, it is possible for germs to be transmitted from one person to another.


    Do not share your toothbrush. I admit I have done this many times in the past, especially when travelling outside of with my husband but that was before I wrote this blog post!


    Get a new toothbrush. There is a reason why we are advised to replace our toothbrush every 3 months, take the advice and ensure your ongoing oral health.


    Happy Brushing Folks!