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Toothbrushes, Toilet Bowls: Are yours Connected?

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Believe it or not, your toilet bowl may be contaminating your toothbrush! Fecal bacteria from your toilet can spread six to eight feet after flushing! What does this mean? Anything you might keep on open surfaces in your bathroom is susceptible to contamination of fecal bacteria. (Yes. You are guessing correctly, actual bacteria and particles of your very own human waste!) So if you happen to keep your toothbrush in a cute little holder near the sink, this article might be especially interesting.

Microbiologist Charles Gerba from the University of Arizona first analyzed this phenomenon. His 1975 article published the results of a demonstration he performed testing colored dye inside a toilet bowel and scattered pieces of gauze around a bathroom. Unfortunately for us with on-the-counter toothbrushes, his study proved quite effective in demonstrating the aerosol effect of toilet bowel water after flushing.

But before we toss our toothbrushes and start brushing from the kitchen sink, there might be a couple of ways we can avoid this very unpleasant dilemma.

For starters, we can relocate our toothbrushes to closed drawers or cabinets. If sharing a bathroom (or have way too much makeup for our own good) this process might be a little difficult to maneuver. Any protection from the open air will help!

For option two, Dr. Phillip Tierno, author of, “The Secret Life of Germs,” recommends soaking our toothbrushes in mouthwash prior to using. This helps eliminate surface bacteria and cleans the toothbrush before the toothbrush does the cleaning. If you don’t have mouthwash handy all the time, there’s always option three.

How about closing the toilet lid before every flush? This will most likely prevent the water and particles from escaping the toilet and getting anywhere close to touching anything we might consider putting in our mouths. By getting into this habit (and teaching our bathroom-mates about this habit) we will increase our prevention against possible household bacterial viruses.

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EmpowHER Guest

Ahhh, thats so disgusting, I had no idea! I am going to throw away my current toothbrush, anti-bacterial my bathroom and start living by your rules! Thanks for the advice, Claire!

March 1, 2010 - 6:37pm
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