WE all know how important it is that we brush our teeth twice a day, but it's also paramount that our toothbrushes aren't harbouring any nasties.
A toothbrush is an everyday go to and most of us assume they are clean before we put them into our mouths.
There are plenty of nasty surprises lurking between the bristles – a home for a host of germs.
Previous studies have found that one single toothbrush can harbour more than ten million bacteria.
This means that while your think you're keeping your mouth clean by brushing your teeth, you may as well be wiping your tongue on the bathroom floor.
Oral health expert Dr Upen Vithlani a dental professional from My Mouth reveals that toothbrushes can be contaminated in many ways.
Dr Vithlani said that inside your brush bacteria, viruses and fungi called all be lurking.
These he said could include nasty bacteria such as e.coli, streptococci, and staphylococcus.
Certain strains of e.coli can cause symptoms including diarrhoea, stomach pain and cramps and low-grade fever, while streptococci can cause skin infections and in rare circumstances, sepsis.
Staphylococcus is usually harmful but if the skin is punctured – and this could include bleeding gyms then bacteria could enter the wound and cause infection.
Dr Vithlani warned: "From leaving our toothbrush out uncovered, from an open-flushed toilet or contaminants from toilet spray that remain airborne long enough to settle on bathroom surfaces.
"And if you drop your toothbrush on the floor, forget the five second rule as airborne bacteria from the floor and the dirt from people’s feet including faeces can find its way into your mouth and cause health problems."
Dr Vithlani said there are some things that you can do to prevent nasty germs entering your body through your toothbrush.
He explains how a toothbrush holder can be a good idea to prevent cross contamination or a toothbrush case. This is also the number one reason not to share a toothbrush.
Top tips on how to keep your gleaming smile
Dr Vithlani said you can use the tips below to help preserve your smile.
- Brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
- Cleaning between your teeth using an interdental brush or flosspicks
- Cleaning your tongue daily
- Cutting down on how much and how often you have sugary and acidic foods and drinks
- Visiting your dentist and hygienist regularly, as often as they recommend
- Reducing darkly coloured food and drinks especially coffee!
- Stopping the use of tobacco products
He said: “Form a line of defence against these microorganisms that can invade your mouth by regularly replacing your toothbrush.
"Bamboo brushes may also be more hygienic than traditional plastic handle brushes as bamboo has a natural antibacterial property and an ability to repel most bacteria."
He said that this will help prevent a build-up of nasties who love dark and damp places.
"Each time you use your toothbrush rinse it under running water to help rid the bristles from lingering food debris, dry the brush and store in a clean and dry place away from the toilet.
“These are just a few techniques for cleaning your toothbrush.
"Yet such cleaning methods don’t eradicate the build-up of microorganisms in your toothbrush, the best line of defence is to replace your toothbrush regularly", he added.
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