We all need our toothbrushes to clean our teeth, but what keeps our toothbrushes clean and free of germs? There are over 10 million bacteria alone living within your toothbrush bristles. Besides bacteria, there are also germs, fungi and viruses breeding on and in between your brushes bristles and they could stay there for months on end. Now that is a scary thought!
Not only do these microorganisms multiply, they have been known to compromise your oral health as well as other health problems in your body.
Below we discuss some of the more nasty ones.
This is the bacteria that causes cavities. Because the streptococcus produces acid, it attacks the enamel and minerals on the teeth and causes tooth decay and cavities.
Another type of streptococcus is called Beta-hemolytic and this type causes a strep throat. Streptococcus sanguis is present in plaque. What this type of bacteria does is it changes the environment and makes the area undesirable for other types of streptococcus. It has also been known to enter the blood stream of a person whilst they are undergoing a dental cleaning. Once the bacteria have entered the blood stream, it can find its way to the heart and enter the heart valves, which will cause a great deal of damage.
Herpes simplex virus
Ever had a fever blister? That is what Herpex simplex is, and it is an oral form of Herpes. It appears as blisters either in the mouth or on the lip area. Once a person has been infected with Herpex simplex you will have it for the rest of your life. It is also very contagious. Over time, however, the outbreaks will become less frequent and there will be a decrease in its symptoms.
Bacteria present in your toilet
We all keep our tooth brushes in the bathroom, and most of our bathrooms have a toilet near the sink. The problem with this is that when you flush the toilet, some of those germs become airborne. Yuck right? It is strongly advised that you should keep your toothbrush as far away from your toilet as you can in order to prevent these toilet bacteria from settling on your toothbrush. Another precaution you can take would be to lower the toilet seat cover before flushing.
Cold and flu viruses also love to call your toothbrush home. To prevent the spreading of these viruses from one family member to the next, make sure to store the toothbrushes separately from each other. Try and invest in a tooth brush cup with separate spaces for each toothbrush. That being said, it is because of cross contamination that sharing a toothbrush is a big no-no.
How to prevent these germs from living in your toothbrush
The number one rule is to replace your toothbrush regularly. You should also never cover the bristles, and make sure to place your toothbrush in an upright position in order for it to dry properly, and of course keep the toothbrushes away from the toilet.