A new study has found that more than a quarter of the UK population admit they would share their toothbrush with a family member, friend, partner, neighbour or celebrity.
Men are significantly more likely to allow somebody else to borrow their toothbrush (32%) than women are (20%). Younger adults are also nearly twice as willing to share their toothbrush (55%) compared to their parents (30%), and around four times more open to do so than their grandparents (13%).
Dr Ben Atkins, dentist and trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, who carried out the poll with Philips, wants to warn people against the idea of sharing their toothbrush and says that 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.
“This is because brushing sometimes causes the gums to bleed, which exposes everyone you share your toothbrush with to bloodstream 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. This could include common colds, cold sores or even hepatitis B.
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.”
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If you are concerned about your dental health, contact us for more information – new patients are always welcome. Our dental practice on Botley High Street opens at 8am on Tuesdays and 8.30am all other weekdays, with after-hours appointments available on Tuesdays by special arrangement. We look forward to hearing from you and your family.