A 2015 study has indeed confirmed that toothbrushes may brood harmful pathogens such as enteric bacteria and pseudomonads. According to the study, enteric bacteria are normally found in the guts and help facilitate glucose fermentation and nitrate conversion into nitrites.
On the other hand, pseudomonas are gram-negative aerobic bacteria that can be found in soil, water, plants and animals. Both bacteria are normally detected in the guts and human skin.
To carry out the study, a team of researchers collected toothbrush samples from students using communal bathrooms at the Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Each bathroom had an average occupant of more than nine students.
The researchers detected fecal coliforms in nearly 60 percent of the toothbrush samples. The health experts also noted that there was an 80 percent chance that the coliform contamination came from another person using the bathroom.
In addition, the findings revealed that decontamination methods — such as rinsing with cold water, hot water and pure mouthwash — did not show significant differences in cleaning the toothbrushes.
According to the experts, bacteria from bowel movements may travel to a person’s toothbrush when toilet water splashes out when the toilet bowl is flushed. This increases the odds of being exposed to certain infection, the researchers said. The scientists also stressed that getting infected with someone else’s fecal matter is far more dangerous.
“The main concern is not with the presence of your own fecal matter on your toothbrush but, rather, when a toothbrush is contaminated with fecal matter from someone else, which contains bacteria, viruses, or parasites that are not part of your normal flora…Using a toothbrush cover…actually creates an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the bristles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out in between uses…Better hygiene practices are recommended for students who share bathrooms both in the storage of their toothbrush but also in personal hygiene,” study researcher Lauren Aber told Science Daily online.
“Sanitization and storage practices of a toothbrush are very important to the potential bacteria present on a toothbrush,” Aber said in a separate article in the Daily Mail.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
New tool make take out the coliform in your toothbrush
Toothbrushes are commonly laden with fecal matter, but a new technology may well keep your dental implements safe for use.
In line with the previous findings, a new technology startup called Puretta has recently announced that it is designing a new toothbrush holder designed to effectively eliminate pathogens from toothbrushes. (Related: Revolutionary Toothbrush Cleans Your Entire Mouth In Just 10 Seconds Using Vibration.)
The new toothbrush holder will make use of medical grade ultraviolet light to disinfect the toothbrushes. The new product is 100 percent solar powered and can be charged any time of lighting. The toothbrush holder may also use indoor lighting to recharge.
The new tool can be attached to a wall near the toilet sink through a special type of tape. It can also be held in place using a nail or screw. The product’s UV light is expected to last for five years, but can otherwise be replaced.
The startup is currently in its kickstart state and is slated for release in November.