(AscendHealthy.com)- Do you store your toothbrush in a holder on your bathroom sink? You may as well clean your toilet with it before you brush. According to a study published by Manchester University, your toothbrush houses more than 10 million bacteria, which feed on the fecal matter, plaque, and blood harbored in the bristles of your toothbrush.
Bacteria and Your Toothbrush
In addition to human contaminants, such as fecal matter, blood, and plaque, your toothbrush is home to some pretty nasty bacteria, including E. coli and staph. What’s more, bacteria and viruses from a recent illness can cling to the bristles of your brush, leaving you open to reinfection.
The truth is, the warm, damp environment of your toothbrush is the perfect breeding ground for grossness. And, if your toothbrush is stored in the bathroom, there is a high probability that it’s getting coated with fecal matter each time you flush. According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, flushing can disperse poop particles into the air only to come crashing down as far as six feet away.
Popular Toothbrush Storage
If you’re like most people, you store your toothbrush in your bathroom for convenience. Unfortunately, the bathroom could possibly be the worst place to store your toothbrush, especially if you use a toothbrush holder. Leaving your toothbrush out in the open exposes it to your germs and the germs and fecal matter of everyone who uses your bathroom.
Toothbrush covers are also extremely popular. However, they do little to protect your toothbrush from germs. Instead, they enclose your moist toothbrush and prevent it from drying out, which creates conditions ripe for bacteria growth.
How to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean
The first thing you need to do is stick to a regular replacement schedule, tossing the old brush every three months. You should also take care when storing your toothbrush. If at all possible, store your toothbrush in a clean, dry, breathable container outside your bathroom. If you must store your toothbrush in your bathroom, the following will reduce contamination:
- Rinse with hot water. Studies have shown that a hot water rinse drastically reduces the proliferation of bacteria.
- Store your toothbrush uncovered on a sunny windowsill, as the ultraviolet light has sterilizing effects.
- If you don’t have a window, store your toothbrush in a closed cabinet in an upright position.
- Allow your toothbrush to dry thoroughly between each brushing. You can put a second toothbrush into rotation if you have to.
- Close your toilet lid before you flush to reduce the amount of fecal matter released into the air.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to reduce toothbrush contamination. The key is to keep your toothbrush dry and out of the path of airborne contaminants by storing it properly.
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