What happens if I use another person’s toothbrush accidentally?

Did you accidentally use your friend or partner’s toothbrush? If yes, you are not alone. A lot of people have made the same mistake.

As you know, mistakes sometimes have consequences.

Using your friend’s toothbrush will not only put your oral health at risk but also your general health. This is why health experts don’t recommend sharing a toothbrush or other personal items, even with family members.

In this article, we will be exploring the risk associated with using another person’s toothbrush.

Exposure to oral diseases

Studies have shown that porphyromonas gingival, a bacterial that damages the delicate tissues that support the teeth, can cause periodontal diseases, gum pain, tooth loss, and recession. If you use the toothbrush of someone whose mouth is home to this virus, you may introduce it into your own mouth. And if you keep using the toothbrush, chances are, you will have a series of periodontal diseases in the future. Note that some of the oral conditions linked to porphyromonas gingival spread pretty quickly. If you don’t take quick action, the condition is going to deteriorate.

Exposure to viruses

Anytime you use someone’s personal item, you are exposing yourself to a virus. The bristles of a toothbrush may harbor viruses that can cause the flu, cold, and other health conditions.

Viruses can also cause chronic and long-term health conditions. Keep in mind that these conditions may not have a cure. So, for example, if you use the toothbrush of someone who has the herpes virus, there is a chance that you are going to have it too.

Exposure to blood borne disease

This is by far the biggest risk of using someone’s toothbrush. Blood-borne illnesses spread when an infected person’s blood comes in contact with an open wound. A person can easily catch blood-borne diseases like hepatitis and HIV if you and the person have periodontal oral conditions.

Exposure to bacteria

Many people have the notion that bacteria are bad and are linked to a lot of health conditions. While that is somewhat true, it is worth noting that not all bacterial is harmful.

You see, the bacteria in our digestive system aid in the digestive process and improve our gut health. These bacterial will not cause any harm to you. However, if they are introduced to another person’s system, they may cause serious health issues.

What we are saying, in a nutshell, is that if you use someone’s toothbrush, you are indirectly introducing another person’s bacterial into your body. This is ultimately going to affect your oral health in the long run.

Streptococcus mutans is a harmless bacterial that resides in everybody’s mouth. They help break down the sugar in our mouth and release an acid that can cause tooth decay. If you use the toothbrush of someone with poor oral hygiene, who has more of these bacteria in his mouth, you are indirectly increasing your risk of tooth decay.  

Exposure to food particles

Will you like to consume food particles stuck in someone’s teeth? If not, you should never use someone’s toothbrush. Some of the food that remains on their teeth may be trapped in the bristles of their toothbrush. If you use the toothbrush, the food remains will enter your mouth. Not only is that gross and unhygienic, but it is also dangerous. You see, the food remains may be a breeding ground for disease-causing bacteria.

Poor results

The main reason why we brush our teeth is to improve our oral health. If you use someone’s toothbrush (consistently), your oral health won’t improve, as your mouth isn’t getting as clean as it should. When two people share the same toothbrush, the bristles are going to deteriorate faster. When this happens, the toothbrush won’t be able to remove food remains, plaque, and bacteria effectively.

What to do if you accidentally used someone’s toothbrush

Since we aren’t perfect, there is a huge possibility that we make mistakes every now and then. Using someone’s toothbrush is a mistake many people make. The steps you take after using someone’s toothbrush will determine if you will have an oral issue or not.

So instead of fretting, panicking, or beating yourself up, you should rinse your mouth with lots of water. Next, use mouthwash to rinse your mouth. The mouthwash will help eliminate the bacteria you may have introduced into your mouth.

When to see a doctor

You may not need to see your doctor if you accidentally used someone’s toothbrush, just once. However, if you use it multiple times unknowingly, you should consult your doctor. You should also seek medical attention if you feel unwell after using someone’s toothbrush.

Easy ways to reduce the odds of you using someone’s toothbrush accidentally

Below are some tips that will make it less likely for you to use someone’s toothbrush

Don’t use a matching toothbrush.

If you use a toothbrush that looks the same as your partner’s or family member’s, chances are, you may use each other’s toothbrush accidentally. Everyone in your household should use different non-identical toothbrushes.

Don’t keep your toothbrush in the same area

Have a dedicated space where you keep your toothbrush. Ensure that nobody else stores their toothbrush there.

Final note

Using someone’s toothbrush is not only unhygienic but also unhealthy. Several studies have shown that sharing a toothbrush with someone can increase the risk of exposure to blood-borne diseases, viruses, bacteria, and oral diseases.

If you accidentally use someone’s toothbrush, don’t panic. Instead, rinse your mouth with mouthwash. And if you feel unwell afterward, you should seek medical attention promptly.  

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