Are toothbrushes actually clean?

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in Blogs | 1 comment

Researchers at England’s University of Manchester have looked into the various kinds of germs found in bacteria, and they found that toothbrushes are crawling with them! They discovered that a toothbrush could harbor more than 100 million bacteria, with the likes of diarrhea-causing E. coli and skin-infecting staphylococci bacteria. This may sound completely unsanitary, but wait! The mouth isn’t the cleanest place to begin with. There are hundreds of microorganisms in the mouth on a daily basis. Medical professionals note that this is perfectly normal and it is not something to sweat over. But what individuals need to worry about is when there is an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. Many people forget that the plaque that develops inside the mouth (if proper brushing is not taking place) is, in fact, bacteria. Toothbrushes are continuously introduced to bacteria every time it is placed into the mouth.


So if there are constantly bacteria on toothbrushes, can they make people sick? Researchers think that it’s not likely. Considering there are already bacteria in the mouth, the body’s natural defenses make it difficult for an infection to occur just from brushing teeth. However, one should not take the body’s ability to defend itself for granted. There are still ways to keep fewer bacteria from entering the mouth. In many homes the bathroom sink is in close vicinity to the toilet. But that should not be the excuse for placing toothbrushes near where flushing occurs! Every time the toilet flushes, it sends sprays of bacteria into the air. Try to place toothbrushes as far as possible from the toilet, giving bacteria less of a chance in getting into the mouth.


Bacteria love moist environments and it is important that the brush dries through and through between each brushing. Try to avoid covers that enclose the brush, which would leave the toothbrush moist and bacteria-friendly. It is also a good idea to keep the toothbrush upright in a holder, instead of lying it down. Also, no matter how clean your sister or any of your other members of your family, don’t ever use each other’s brushes. Don’t even place toothbrushes in the same cup! Whenever toothbrushes come in contact with each other, they can easily exchange bacteria.

We recommend that you replace your toothbrush every season(3 months) to help prevent bacterial growth and to maintain oral hygiene.


Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or




1 Comment

  1. It’s also a good idea to change your toothbrush after you’ve gotten over a cold or other type of infection. Because I suffer from chronic sinus infections, I change my toothbrush at least every two weeks.

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