ADA Toothbrush Storage Guidelines Following Fecal Coliform Study

What’s on YOUR toothbrush?

Have you ever considered that a likely answer to this question is……… POOP??!!!!

Yes. That’s right. The contraption you put in your mouth everyday to clean your teeth can harbor some pretty nasty bacteria; one of the most likely contaminants being fecal matter.

According to a recent study done at Quinnipiac University, 60% of toothbrushes stored in communal bathrooms tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria.

As gross as this may sound, it isn’t as bad as it seems, if the fecal coliforms are your own! The potential problems come in when the fecal matter is someone else’s. Unless you live alone, it is likely that you share a bathroom with other people. In this case, according to the study and research, there is an 80 % chance that the fecal coliforms on your toothbrush came from someone else.

“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,” said Lauren Aber, a graduate student at the university, and the head author on the study.

Even with the possibility of ingesting someone else’s germs, you should KEEP BRUSHING, as the negative consequences of not brushing your teeth daily can be far worse..

Proper handling and care of your toothbrush is important to your overall health. So, what can you do?

The team at El Dorado Dental encourages you to follow the guidelines set forth by the American Dental Association for toothbrush hygiene and storage.

These include:

1. Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse before brushing. This can help significantly reduce the level of bacteria in your mouth when you brush, so there will be less to transfer to your toothbrush.

2. Thoroughly Rinse the toothbrush with clean tap water. – Remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Additionally, soaking the toothbrush in an antimicrobial mouth rinse can help to lessen the amount of bacteria that remains.

3. Do not use a toothbrush cover or container. These do not allow the bristles to dry. A moist, tight space makes it easier for bacteria to grow as they thrive in those conditions.

4. Air dry your toothbrush. – Store your toothbrush in an upright position. If it shares a container with another toothbrush, make sure they are separated to avoid cross-contamination.

5. Avoid sharing toothbrushes. -Even with your spouse!!! The bacteria on those brushes is shared, including the ones that cause dental decay and periodontal disease.

6. Engage in routine dental care. – Scheduling and receiving regular dental cleanings can reduce the overall level and types of bacteria present in your mouth. In turn, this can reduce the amount of bacteria on your toothbrush

If you are in need of dental care, and in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area, come see us at El Dorado Dental.

Happy Brushing!!!