Quick brain-teaser: What has tiny bristles, lives in your bathroom and can house five of the nastiest germs, including the flu virus?
Answer: Your Toothbrush.
If you guessed it correct, you might want to know the truth behind your toothbrush containing germs. Well, according to researchers, there can be as many as 1.2 million bacteria on a single toothbrush. Also, a New York State Dental Journal found that 70% of used toothbrushes are contaminated with these bacteria.
Also read : Chewing gum can be good your teeth
Your toothbrush is home to more than 100 million bacteria including flu virus, staph bacteria, E. coli, yeast fungus and strep virus, according to researchers at the University of Manchester in England. And the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that faecal germs were on your toothbrushes too.
Grossed out already? Don’t freak out yet. Your mouth is also full of bacteria and your toothbrush probably won't make you sick, but there are ways to keep it clean so you stay healthy.
Hundreds of microorganisms live in our mouths every day. Even plaque – the stuff you are trying to brush off your teeth – is a type of bacteria. None of this is cause for concern unless there is an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth.
Brushing your teeth, particularly with an electric toothbrush, can actually push germs under your gums, says R. Thomas Glass, DDS, PhD, professor of dentistry and pathology at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.
Your mouth already consists of most of these germs. And that’s why you probably won't get sick from them. But, if others use your toothbrush (or you use someone else's) germs can be spread.
However, you should worry about recurring illness. When your resistance is low, that's when this becomes clinically important. In essence, you are re-infecting yourself.
There are scarce chances that you’ll get an infection from your own toothbrush. Even if your brush is covered in bacteria, your immune system can usually take care of any bacterial invaders. However, caring for your toothbrush properly and keeping it clean is still essential.
The following points discuss some ways to care for and store your toothbrush properly to minimize the chance of illness.
There are products available that claim to sanitize your toothbrush. The American Dental Association (ADA) states soaking your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouth rinse after use may reduce the amount of bacteria on your toothbrush. Just make sure you do not try to sterilize your toothbrush in a microwave or dishwasher. According to the ADA, most toothbrushes are not made to withstand these conditions and doing so might damage the brush and reduce its effectiveness.
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