Why you shouldn’t share your toothbrush
June 25th, 2019
Sharing someone else’s toothbrush may seem unimaginable to you – but did you know that over a quarter of British adults are openly willing to share their toothbrush? This was just one of the findings of a recent study carried out by the Oral Health Foundation and Philips as part of National Smile Month.
Who would you share your toothbrush with?
In the first survey of its kind, it was discovered that 26% of the population admit they would share their toothbrush with a family member, friend, partner or neighbour. Perhaps more strangely, many admitted that they would even share their toothbrush with a celebrity!
The poll also reveals a difference in attitudes between men and women. Men are significantly more likely to allow somebody else to borrow their toothbrush, with almost a third (32%) saying that they would. For women the figure was one in five (20%).
Younger adults are also nearly twice as willing to share their toothbrush, with over half (55%) seeing no problem with it. This compared to around a third of their parents (30%), and just 13% of their grandparents.
Why sharing is not caring
The findings have led Dr Ben Atkins, Dentist and Trustee of the Oral Health Foundation to warn people against the idea of sharing their toothbrush, as it can lead to a number of health problems.
Dr Atkins says: “Although it may seem like a kind gesture to share your toothbrush, it really is not a very good idea. Sharing a toothbrush leaves you susceptible to all sorts of oral and general health problems. Just because you kiss a partner or occasionally share a fork or spoon during mealtimes with them, does not justify using their toothbrush.
“This is because brushing sometimes causes the gums to bleed, which exposes everyone you share your toothbrush with to blood stream diseases. This means that by sharing a toothbrush, you could also be sharing blood, which is a lot riskier than just swapping saliva.
“There are many hundreds of different bacteria and viruses in our mouths and people sharing a toothbrush could be passing these on to others. While this might be something relatively harmless, such as a common cold or cold sore, if the person you are sharing with is infected with hepatitis B or HIV these could also be passed on via the toothbrush, with severe health consequences.”
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, adds: “The mouth harbours hundreds of different kinds of bacteria, that can be easily transferred from one person to another. You can control this by only using your own toothbrush. By avoiding using other people’s toothbrushes you will prevent the mixing of bacteria and plaque. This will protect the health of yourself as well as others.”
Tips for good oral hygiene
The recent National Smile Month campaign helped to promote a positive attitude towards good oral hygiene, highlighting the importance of three key points –
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Cut down on how much sugary food and drink you have, and how often you have them.
- Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
Given the findings of this latest survey, they are also keen to send out a message that ensuring your toothbrush is not used by anybody else is vital to avoid unnecessary risks to your oral health.
To book an appointment now or to enquire about becoming a member of Battle Road Dental Practice, call today on 01424 713051.