The potential risks of sharing a toothbrush

Dentist Blog

From a young age, most people are taught the importance of having a toothbrush and regularly brushing their teeth. There are many cases where you may misplace your toothbrush, forget to carry it on a trip or it becomes damaged. While it may seem convenient to simply borrow a toothbrush from a friend or family member, sharing toothbrushes has many different risks.

Your toothbrush is a useful tool used to prevent decaying teeth, prevent gum diseases and remove harmful bacteria from the mouth. The bristles of a toothbrush penetrate deep into teeth and gums, and they can transmit various infections is shared or not cleaned properly. So before you ask your friend to lend you their toothbrush during a sleepover, consider the following potential risks.

Exposure to bacteria

The mouth has over 700 different species of bacteria. While not all of them are harmful, there are strains such as E. coli that have been shown to cause infections. Because a toothbrush goes deep between the gums and teeth, you can obtain harmful bacteria in your mouth as a result of sharing toothbrushes.

Bacteria can cause a wide variety of complications such a cold, the flu and viruses. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid sharing toothbrushes so as to limit your exposure to bacteria.

Exposure to gum disease and infections

Gum diseases such as gingivitis can be spread by sharing toothbrushes. More serious cases of gingivitis eventually lead to periodontal disease, where the gums begin to detach from the teeth. It can be difficult to know if a friend, or even a family member, has gingivitis. Therefore, it is best to avoid sharing toothbrushes in order to limit your risk of infection.

Exposure to bloodborne diseases

Sharing of toothbrushes causes more than just exposure to bacteria and gum infections. You can also obtain bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis, herpes or pneumonia. Think of it as putting whatever was in your friend's mouth in your own mouth. The situation becomes worse if you're sharing toothbrushes among multiple people (more than 2). You can end up with a vicious cycle of infections that spread to every user of the toothbrush.

It is often not enough to simply rinse and clean a toothbrush that was used by someone else. Many bacteria and germs are microscopic and are not completely eliminated by simple rinsing or cleaning.

In light of these risks, it is always advisable to avoid sharing toothbrushes as much as possible. Ask your dentist for more information.


26 September 2018

Unraveling Dental Myths about Children: A Blog for Parents

When I had my first child, I was a nervous wreck. Every book I read gave different advice, and I just wanted to be right! By the time I had my third child, some of the stress had abated. I now realised, there were tons of different perspectives on everything related to raising children including dentistry. To help parents, I have created this blog dedicated to unraveling dental myths about children. I am including posts that weigh both sides of issues such as thumb sucking, dental caries, breastfeeding, flossing and any other topic I can think of. I hope you find the information you need to unravel dental myths, but most importantly, I hope you find some peace of mind. With kids and dentistry, there can be more than one right answer, and I want you to be able to relax and go with the answer that's right for you.