Is there faecal matter on my toothbrush?

So is there faecal matter on your toothbrush? Hmmm.....

This leads into a more common question of how often a toothbrush should be changed? While there is no hard or fast answer to the latter question, the two main determining factors are: 

1) The condition of the bristles: If the bristles look a bit ragged or shaggy, it might be time to consider changing your brush (or brush head for electric brushes). If this happens within a few weeks, then chances are you are brushing too hard. If this continues it can lead to gum recession, tooth wear and tooth sensitivity. Generally speaking you'll find that kids brush harder than adults, so keep an eye on their brushes. Interestingly however, objective research states that a shaggy toothbrush actually cleans almost as effectively as new bristles, so the condition of the bristles is more of a guide than a hard or fast rule.

2) Micro-organisms/germs: At any one time it's estimated there are, wait for it, 10 million micro-organisms living on your toothbrush! To minimise the build-up of bacteria, store the toothbrush up-right and uncovered to give the bristles a chance to dry. Yes, store it away from the toilet where possible and cover the toilet when flushing, because 60% of toothbrushes have some faecal matter on them. Gross. Rinsing the toothbrush head with a mouth rinse or boiling water for 5-10secs at the most can temporarily minimise this build-up, but it is not a substitute for toothbrush replacement. 

Generally speaking a toothbrush/toothbrush head should be changed every 3 or 4 months. By this time the bristles usually have become a little shaggy and all those bugs have really had time to party! 

For more information visit our webpage or talk to your friendly Northbridge Dentists team member.