Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to keeping the teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. There are some specific actions that must be avoided if one is to keep their teeth and gums healthy, one of which includes sharing toothbrushes. Understanding the risk factors of sharing toothbrushes will help individuals refrain from making choices that could negatively impact their oral health.
Not sharing toothbrushes may seem like common knowledge, but sometimes lovers or family members share toothbrushes because it appears to be harmless. It’s important for individuals to realize that toothbrushes are easily contaminated from external sources, including the bacteria that remain in the air after the toilet flushes. Toothbrushes can also be contaminated from toothpaste tubes that are shared by family members or roommates. Those who spray aerosols in the bathroom also put their toothbrushes at risk of being contaminated. Leaving toothbrushes in storage containers also puts them at risk of being contaminated. Lastly, after a person brushes their teeth, the bacteria from their session is transferred onto the bristles, which includes an average of 200 to 300 types of bacteria found in plaque.
Therefore, when people share toothbrushes, they risk the transfer of bacteria from the mouth of whomever they’re sharing their toothbrush with, as well as bacteria from external forces.
Unfortunately, the oral mucosa and gums do not protect the mouth from catching infections, which means if someone else is sick with a virus or bacterial infection and they share their toothbrush, they risk infecting others with the same bacteria that caused the virus. Sharing a toothbrush with someone who is sick is equivalent to sharing saliva. For those who suffer from immune system problems or worse, sharing a toothbrush with a sick person puts them ten times at risk of also becoming infected.
Those who are suffering from mononucleosis, also known as mono, can transfer the infection via sharing toothbrushes.
Because mouths are a contaminated environment, they contain a balance of bacteria and fungi; sharing toothbrushes can throw off that balance, especially since everyone’s mouth is unique. An unbalance of bacteria could lead to candida or black tongue.
If individuals are sharing an old toothbrush, they put themselves at an even higher risk because old bristles are likely to contain more contamination, especially if the toothbrush is over four months old.
It’s important for individuals to remember that certain diseases are transferred via the mouth, even if no direct contact is involved. Ailments, such as the flu, herpes, HIV, and hepatitis, can be spread orally, including via a shared toothbrush.
At McBride Dental, we offer preventative care services to help our clients keep their mouths healthy. Some of our services include thorough evaluations, X-rays, deep cleanings, and more. We also offer cosmetic dentistry services for those who would like to enhance their smiles, which include teeth whitening services and denture installment services. If you are in the San Diego area and would like to schedule an appointment, contact our office today at 760-471-1003.