Many Britons unaware of risks of sharing toothbrushes
Author: Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the BDHF.
Published: June 2007
Most Britons would be happy to lend their toothbrush to somebody else according to a new UK-wide dental survey.
The National Smile Month Survey, commissioned by the British Dental Health Foundation in association with Healthplan provider HSA, found that over 60% of people would be willing to let their partners, children, friends and even celebrities borrow their toothbrush.
Interestingly, men were far more protective of their brushes than women with almost half saying they wouldn’t lend their brush to anyone, as opposed to only a third of women.
Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the Foundation, commented: ‘Sharing a toothbrush leaves people susceptible to all sorts of oral and general health problems.
‘There are many hundreds of different bacteria and viruses in our mouths and people sharing a toothbrush could be passing these on to others. While this might be something relatively harmless, such as a common cold or cold sore, if the person you are sharing with is infected with hepatitis B or HIV these could also be passed on via the toothbrush with life threatening consequences.
‘People need to take good care of their toothbrush, changing it once every 3 months, and not letting anyone else borrow it.
‘You should brush twice-aday with fluoride toothpaste, cut down how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visit the dentist regularly as often as they recommend for a good oral healthcare routine.’
‘It’s worrying that so many people either aren’t aware, or don’t care, that by sharing a toothbrush they could be running the risk of catching a serious infection. Especially those in London, who are most likely to share their brush with their favourite celebrity!’ comments Abby Bowman from HSA. ‘It’s important for individuals and families to look after their oral health and we would encourage regular trips to the dentist. And, if you’re are worried about the cost, a range of funding options are available.’