A doctor has issued a stark warning about sharing your toothbrush with your partner and has said you should never do it – as it could do “serious harm” to your oral health.
We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve forgotten to pack a toothbrush and have been forced to take emergency measures and borrow our partner’s, and for the odd day, you might think there’s nothing wrong with it.
But according to Doctor Khaled Kasem, you could be exposing your teeth and gums to a “whole host of nasty things” by sharing a toothbrush even just once – especially if your partner isn’t as thorough with brushing as you are.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Kasem said: “Whether intentional or accidental, using someone else’s toothbrush can expose your teeth, gums, and mouth to a whole host of nasty things, especially if they’re not as into their oral health routine as you are.”
The doctor, who is the Chief Orthodontist of the European orthodontic chain Impress, suggests that you always use your own toothbrush, even if it means having one in every bag you own so that you never forget it.
He explained that the mix of bacteria in your mouth is “unique” to you, so mixing it with someone else’s bacteria by using their toothbrush isn’t a good idea – as some bacteria in their mouth could do “serious harm” when spread to you.
He added: “When using someone else’s toothbrush, you’re exposing your mouth to new bacteria which might not react well with your existing bacteria.
“Up to 700 different species of bacteria can live in our mouth at any one time and while the majority are good for us, there are a few that could do some serious harm.
“The most harmful, associated with tooth decay and gum disease, are streptococcus mutans, porphyromonas gingivalis and treponema denticola, all of which are found to be living on toothbrushes, and you’re more at risk if you’re sharing.”
And the risks don’t just stop there either, as Dr Kasem says you could even be brushing mould into your teeth by sharing a toothbrush – especially if you use it right after your partner.
The doctor says that if you really have no other choice, you should wait until your partner’s toothbrush is dry first, as keeping it wet for too long will allow more bacteria to grow.
He said: “The likelihood is that you’ll be using your partner’s toothbrush immediately after them, but that’s the worst thing you can do! If you insist on using your partner’s toothbrush, at least make sure it’s dry first, as this will ensure most of the bacteria will die before you use it.”
Ultimately, Dr Kasem stated that sharing a toothbrush with someone you’re already kissing won’t be the end of the world if you don’t make it a regular habit – but it’s always best to use your own just to be safe.
He explained: “If you’re sharing a toothbrush with someone you’re already kissing, just don’t make it a regular habit and ensure the toothbrush is dry before you use it.
“It’s always best to pop out and purchase your own toothbrush than risk it – after all, you should be changing your toothbrush every three months anyway, so your new one won’t go to waste.”