Do You Share Your Toothbrush? Learn Why You Really Shouldn’t

Published:June 11th, 2014

Color Backgrounds 00132Are you guilty of sharing your toothbrush with others? Apparently a considerable percentage of the population has admitted to this dental crime. A recent survey conducted as part of the National Smile Month found nearly 10% of us had shared a toothbrush, and 11% said they would consider doing so if they had to.

Additionally, researchers found 20% of us have used a finger to clean our teeth, while one in 10 had used something other than toothpaste although the survey doesn’t actually say what exactly they used. Nearly 40% have just rinsed out their mouth rather than brushing. The survey also revealed that one in seven of us use odd items such as credit cards and business cards and even earrings to floss which sounds pretty painful, not to mention ineffective. The survey questioned more than 2,000 people as part of the annual campaign to encourage people to brush more frequently.

Share a Toothbrush? You Could Be Sharing Far More than Saliva
It’s a common misconception that sharing a toothbrush is little worse than sharing a fork or spoon or kissing a loved one. The reason why it’s so bad is that brushing can sometimes cause bleeding gums, especially in someone who has a bit of gum disease. When this occurs it’s very easy for bacteria in the mouth to get straight into your bloodstream, and if you’re using someone else’s toothbrush then this is an excellent way for their germs to get right inside your body.

If you share a toothbrush then you could be sharing blood, which is far riskier than just sharing saliva. While you’re probably only at risk of catching something non-life-threatening such as a cold, there’s always the possibility you could contract something far more deadly such as HIV or hepatitis B. Toothbrushes are so cheap there’s really no need to share, and it’s just as important to make sure this piece of dental equipment is properly looked after.

A Few Pounds on New Toothbrushes Could Save You Money
Spending just a few pounds each year replacing your toothbrush every three months or so is much cheaper than risking dental diseases such as cavities and gum disease. If you get these diseases then you are more likely to need time off work to go to the dentist, and restorative treatments can get pretty costly.

Keep Your Toothbrush Hygienic
When you finish brushing your teeth each day, make sure you thoroughly rinse out your brush, removing any old pieces of food, and getting rid of excess toothpaste. Place it upright to dry, in a position where air can circulate freely. Make sure it doesn’t touch anyone else’s brush as a damp brush is a great environment for breeding germs. The idea is to get it to dry out completely in between uses. Some people like to soak their brush in antimicrobial mouthwash to kill off germs, and if you use a tongue scraper it’s a great idea to soak this occasionally, and make sure you renew it at the same time as your toothbrush.

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

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