Is There Fecal Matter on Your Toothbrush?

Every toothbrush is going to get a little dirty as time goes by. All the time it spends in your mouth exposes it to bacteria and grime. This is largely not a big deal, so long as you periodically rinse and disinfect your brush. However, if you leave your brush out in the open, you may be exposing yourself to some unnecessary contaminates.

Specifically, an unguarded brush may be gathering human fecal matter. This is according to a study recently presented at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting. The study looked at an assortment of toothbrushes taken from bathrooms that were shared among at least two people, finding that over 60% of them were contaminated with fecal particles. Among the contaminated brushes, fully 80% had particles that came from somebody other than the brush’s owner, making them even less healthy than those originating from the individual’s own system.

These particles get onto your brush when you flush your toilet. Every flush launches a tiny spray of toilet water into the air, which can gradually introduce a fecal residue to any surface it lands upon. You can avoid such contamination by protecting your brush; put it into a closable container where it can still be exposed to the air, allowing it to dry out between brushings.