Toothbrush Etiquette

Brushing your teeth is a very important part of having good oral hygiene and is a considerate gesture for those around you! We all have our routine and place of keeping the toothbrush but this article is an interesting (and sometimes frightening) look at what can live on your toothbrush if you aren’t careful. Simple things like keeping your toothbrush away from the toilet, (you’ll see why!) and swapping it out regularly with a new one are essential to keep from not only putting gross bacteria in your mouth but avoiding contracting disease from something that seems so innocent!


You do it morning and night and maybe even after meals. It makes your mouth feel clean enough to kiss and helps you smile without feeling self-conscious. Yet if you’re like most people, the number of germs that are lurking on your toothbrush will make you re-think that minty-fresh feeling.

According to a study at the University of Manchester in England, the average toothbrush can contain 10 million or more bacteria—including E. coli (the stuff that lives in our intestines and can cause mild diarrhea—or even vomiting and severe abdominal cramps, if it’s a nasty strain) and Staph (which are mostly harmless but can cause infections). What’s more, at any given time there are 100 to 200 species of oral bacteria living in your mouth—bacteria that end up on your toothbrush.

There’s more to worry about if you store your toothbrush in a cute little cup on the bathroom sink. “If your toothbrush is stored within three feet of the toilet, the droplets of water that spray up after you flush remain airborne long enough to settle on surfaces throughout the bathroom—including your toothbrush—which means you may be cleaning your teeth with what you thought you flushed down the toilet,” says Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona.

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