We’ve all done it—your friend sleeps over and forgot their toothbrush. Your significant other gets confused about which toothbrush is actually theirs. Maybe you’ve even been the one to borrow a friend’s toothbrush on occasion. Many people admit to being toothbrush swappers on one occasion or another! No matter when, where, or why it happened, toothbrush sharing is a risky practice that’s not safe for the user or the borrower. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t be sharing your toothbrush, no matter who it’s with!
Sharing Bacteria Can Increase Risk for Cavities
We all have different kinds of bacteria in our mouths—how healthy is the person’s mouth that you’re sharing your toothbrush with? How healthy is yours? The bacteria that causes cavities, called streptococcus mutans, is contagious! Sharing your toothbrush with another person could increase your risk for cavities, or if you’re the one with the bacteria, it could increase theirs!
Bleeding Gums Expose Your Mouth to Viruses
Many people experience bleeding gums when they brush, and sharing blood is even scarier than sharing saliva! This could be a sign of the beginning stages of gum disease, or gingivitis, but it could also be from overly-aggressive brushing. Regardless, blood borne viruses like herpes (oral and genital), hepatitis, and the human papilloma virus (HPV) can be transmitted simply through sharing a toothbrush! HPV can also be transmitted through saliva and has been linked to several different cancers.
What’s more, sharing saliva could also increase your risk for yeast infections! Candida is a natural yeast that’s present in all of our bodies, but too much of this fungi could cause adverse symptoms, including yeast infections. Candida can cling to your toothbrush, making an innocent toothbrush-lending practice not so fun!
Sharing Your Toothbrush Is Like Sharing Gum Disease
It might not seem like it at the time, but sharing your toothbrush is a lot like sharing gum disease. This is because the bacteria that are responsible for causing gum disease can cling to your toothbrush and get transferred into your mouth! Even if the person you’re sharing with has the beginning stages of gum disease, sharing your toothbrush can still put your mouth at risk.
What Can You Do?
If you or your friend forgets your toothbrush, pass on sharing the other person’s until you can get a new one or locate your own at home. There are a few things you can do to get by without brushing in the meantime:
Use your finger to “brush” your teeth with toothpaste.
Rinse with mouthwash.
Eat an apple, drink peppermint tea, or floss—all can help you to have fresher breath!
Although skipping brushing isn’t ideal, it’s safer than sharing a toothbrush with someone! Keep mini brushes in your bag or car for when you forget. Carry a bottle of mouthwash. Just opt to not borrow someone’s toothbrush and never loan them your own. You could increase your risk for cavities, gum disease, and blood borne viruses—not worth it to have fresh breath!