Toothbrushes in communal bathrooms were found to be contaminated with fecal matter over 60 percent of the time, according to the preliminary findings of a new study conducted by researchers at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.
In addition to discovering fecal matter contamination, the researchers also found an 80 percent chance that the fecal matter belonged to another person using the bathroom — a finding which Medical News Today referred to as “worrying” in a recently published report.
The researchers behind the study collected and tested toothbrushes from students’ communal bathrooms at Quinnipiac University. The restrooms had an average of 9.4 users.
In addition to finding fecal matter contamination on toothbrushes likely from other bathroom users, the researchers also found no difference between specific toothbrush cleaning methods when it came to decontamination.
In regards to using a toothbrush cover, study author Lauren Aber, a graduate student of Quinnipiac, explained that instead of protecting the brush from bacterial growth, they actually create “an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the bristles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses,” CBS News reported.
Using a toothbrush cover doesn’t protect a toothbrush from bacterial growth, but actually creates an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the bristles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses
The study’s preliminary findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
How do you feel about fecal matter on your toothbrush?