With today’s ride share culture, everyone seems to be sharing everything. This goes for friends, children, relatives, and especially spouses. However, sometimes sharing is not caring, and that is especially true when it comes to sharing toothbrushes. In fact, sharing a toothbrush can be extremely detrimental to one’s health for a variety of reasons. Here to provide more information is a brief list addressing whether or not sharing a toothbrush is detrimental to your oral health.
Spreading Bacteria and Viruses
Face it, our mouths are home to over 700 different types of bacteria. Because our toothbrushes have an intimate relationship with our mouths, it is natural that they would be crawling with the same type of bacteria. This is one good reason why we should be replacing our toothbrushes every three months, but even more of an indication that we should not be sharing our toothbrushes. Doing so can transfer a variety of nasty bacteria and viruses.
What About Kissing?
As mentioned above, many studies show that sharing a toothbrush can transmit bacteria and viruses from one mouth to another. This leaves sharers vulnerable to a variety of potential health problems. But some would counter this assertion with the fact that they kiss their partners or hold hands with their children on a daily basis, why should sharing a toothbrush be any different? Well, toothbrushes contain more concentrated amounts of bacteria, which can have an immediate and lasting impact on one’s oral health that is much more risky than kissing or holding hands could ever be.
Oral Health Risks
In addition to leaving themselves susceptible to E. coli, staph, and pseudomonas, those who share their toothbrushes can also contract beta-hemolytic streptococcus (otherwise known as strep throat), which can cause illness, fever, sore throat, coughing, and swollen lymph nodes. Additionally, strep can mutate and cause cavities. Even worse, if you share a toothbrush with someone whose gums are bleeding, you are putting yourself at risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B, and other blood borne viruses.
When It Comes Right Down To It
Obviously, no dentist will endorse sharing a toothbrush, as the adverse outcomes are quite detrimental. However, despite the risks, sharers only run the risk of transmitting bacteria that is already in the mouth, or viruses that are already in the body. For this reason, sharing a toothbrush with an intimate partner or relative who does not have any diseases, illnesses, or viruses is unlikely to cause any long term damage.