Germs on My Toothbrush
Billions of bacteria call your mouth home. With over 500 different species of bacteria living in your mouth, it makes sense that some would end up on your toothbrush after brushing. But the germ exposure doesn’t just end there. Your toothbrush can also be exposed to germs floating around in the air, especially those that come from flushing the toilet. Research has shown that an uncovered toothbrush can have over 100 million bacteria on the bristles.
But can these bacteria actually be dangerous to our health?
The Dangers of Germs on Your Toothbrush
Bacteria on your toothbrush can easily be transferred to your mouth when you go to brush your teeth. Even though having bacteria in your mouth and body is normal and even healthy, you can run into problems when the balance of bacteria is off and there are more harmful bacteria than helpful. These harmful bacteria can weaken your enamel, create cavities, and cause tooth decay.
Can Your Toothbrush Make You Sick?
You’ve probably been told to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick, but this isn’t really necessary. It’s highly unlikely that you would re-catch a cold from your toothbrush because your body has already fought off that strain of bacteria. You can, however, become ill from using a sick person’s toothbrush.
The American Dental Association says you shouldn’t worry too much about germs on your toothbrush since our bodies are built to fight off bacteria. While most people won’t get sick from their contaminated toothbrushes, it is possible to get a gastrointestinal illness from the germs that land on your toothbrush after flushing the toilet.
Caring For and Replacing Your Toothbrush
Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to avoid the issues that germs on your toothbrush can cause. It’s important that you:
- Don’t share toothbrushes. It’s much easier to get sick when using someone else’s toothbrush.
- Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet. When you flush the toilet, millions of bacteria fly into the air and land on surfaces in your bathroom. Keep your toothbrush far from the toilet to avoid harmful germs.
- Don’t store your toothbrush in containers. Your toothbrush needs to dry in order to avoid developing harmful mold and bacteria.
- Rinse your toothbrush after use. Rinsing your toothbrush with water after brushing as well as soaking it in peroxide can keep the bacteria on your toothbrush at bay.
In most cases, the germs on your toothbrush aren’t very harmful. But it’s always a good idea to take extra precautions just in case.