Toothbrush Terror! Can Your Toothbrush Make You Sick?
You definitely brush your teeth twice a day to keep your pearly whites clean and cavity-free, but are you sure you’re doing it the right way? Unknowingly, you could be spreading germs and bacteria all over your mouth.
Bacteria from the mouth can easily transfer to a toothbrush if it is stored anywhere close by, such as a cup or holder. To keep your toothbrush off germs and bacteria, you should put it in a safe place that isn’t used for anything else. Many people store their toothbrushes in an open container, which is a major No-No.
Toothbrushes can carry bacteria and diseases. Studies show that over 50 percent of toothbrushes contain some form of disease or bacteria after use, many of which are transferable to the mouth. Each time you brush, you could be brushing in feces or food particles.
Here are the diseases that can live on your toothbrush:
1) Streptococcus mutans
This is the bacteria that cause cavities and mouth sores. This is the primary culprit to watch out for and can survive up to nine days after being left in a warm environment.
How you acquire it: Some people store their toothbrushes in a communal place.
How to avoid it: Store your toothbrush in a private place, such as a medicine cabinet or drawer where no one opens it but you.
2) Strep Throat Virus
This is also very common in toothbrushes as well as cold sores (HSV1) that are transferable. These two are more closely linked than you think since HSV1 can cause strep throat in rare cases.
This virus can survive in your toothbrush for up to two months, so make sure you thoroughly sanitize it.
How you acquire it: Some people share toothbrushes.
How to avoid it: Never share your toothbrush with anyone, even family members. You can spread bacteria and germs that way. If you want to be extra careful, go out and buy an extra toothbrush for your child so they don’t have to use yours.
3) The Cold Virus
Cold sores are very contagious and easily passed on to others through a toothbrush. The herpes simplex virus can live on toothbrushes for up to three days. Ensure you are rinsing your toothbrush thoroughly after brushing to keep yourself from being the carrier of that cold.
How you acquire it: Some people who have been sick will use the same toothbrush without sanitizing it.
How to avoid it: If you are sick, then make sure you throw out your toothbrush and buy a new one once you start feeling better.
4) Flu Virus
The flu virus can also be found on toothbrushes. If you are sick, make sure you clean your toothbrush immediately, so you do not spread the sickness while cleaning the bristles. Studies have shown that a toothbrush is often contaminated with the flu virus after being used by someone who has been sick.
How you acquire it: Some people do not change their toothbrushes after being sick.
How to avoid it: If you are sick, make sure you disinfect your toothbrush with soap and water right away. Then dry the bristles before using them again. It’ll be best if you buy a new toothbrush once you get better.
This bacteria can live on your toothbrush for up to a week and is most common in soft-bristled brushes. This will only make you sick if you have an open wound or cut in your mouth, but it can be transferred to your mouth if you are using a soft-bristled brush.
How you acquire it: People who use soft-bristled toothbrushes tend to lick the bristles.
How to avoid it: Always keep your mouth closed when brushing your teeth unless you are rinsing after. If you have sores or cuts in your mouth, be sure not to rub the toothbrush against them.
6) Candida Albicans
This is the yeast that causes thrush in infants and oral candidiasis in grown-ups. This very commonly lives on toothbrushes because of high sugar content diets.
How you acquire it: People who eat a lot of sugar can transfer the yeast to their toothbrushes.
How to avoid it: Make sure you are brushing your teeth after every meal, especially if you have just eaten something sugary. If you have diabetes, be sure to replace your toothbrush more often since you are at risk for yeast overgrowth.
This bacteria lives on the bristles of your toothbrush for around ten days. It can enter your body through cuts or sores in the mouth and cause serious illnesses, including typhoid fever.
How you acquire it: People who do not rinse their toothbrushes after using them will leave the salmonella to build up inside.
How to avoid it: Make sure you are thoroughly rinsing out your toothbrush after using it. If you know that you have cuts or sores in your mouth, be extra careful not to rub the bristles against them.
Now that you know the yucky diseases lying in wait on your toothbrush make sure you don’t put yourself at risk. Brushing twice daily is essential for your health, but your toothbrush can be a major cause of spreading germs and bacteria.
How to keep your mouth and toothbrush clean:
- Never share a toothbrush with anyone else.
Sharing a toothbrush can spread bacteria and disease. If someone else is sick, then it might be best to have your own toothbrush.
- Don’t leave toothbrushes on the counter or in an open cup for more than a day.
Storing brushes in an open cup can expose them to germs and bacteria all over your bathroom since most people store their cups on the counter.
- Clean your toothbrush after each use.
Make sure to thoroughly rinse out your brush and get rid of all of the toothpaste or whatever else may be attached to it. You should also make sure you wash your hands before handling your toothbrush since germs can quickly spread.
- Change your toothbrush every three months.
This is an easy way to keep yourself from getting sick or spreading any germs. Also, most people brush their teeth for only two minutes which means the bristles will wear out in less than three months.
- Invest in a toothbrush sanitizer.
This keeps your toothbrush away from germs and bacteria because the ultraviolet light kills any bugs that might be on it.
Now you know how to keep yourself from getting sick, so make sure your toothbrush is protected by following these simple steps!