Open Space, Open Invitation for Bacteria

Whether your toothbrush is placed in the vicinity of a toilet or across the room, studies have showed freckled specs of feces on toothbrushes, nondiscriminatory of distance. This becomes an even bigger problem in close quarters such as dorm bathrooms with multiple users. There are many disadvantages to sharing a community space with people who do not participate in a uniformed hygienic standard.

In the annual American Society for Microbiology forum, a presentation of fecal matter in toothbrushes was examined and how approximately 60% from the entire collection tested positive. Rather than individual toothbrushes coming into contact with fecal matter, the majority of contamination came from peers utilizing the same sharing space.

Contrary to popular movies where roommates sabotage one’s toothbrush by slushing it in the toilet, the contamination occurs when other people’s toothbrushes which are compromised come into contact with each other. It is the introduction of bacteria not part of one’s normal biology which prompts concern. That is not to say personal fecal matter entering one’s body during brushing is safe but foreign bacteria from another coming into oneself, is the main issue.

No matter the cleaning methods or lengths to protect one’s toothbrush via covers, the most prudent way for those who share bathrooms was to start at square one which is personal hygiene. With each individual’s copious efforts to maintain an unsoiled open space, less exposure to bacteria can be expected but regardless of exertions, the safest would be to store personal toothbrushes separately.

Couple other suggestions consisted of not sharing toothbrushes, not using covers which provide a moist space for banter to amplify and multiply, replacements every 3 months and thoroughly washing before and after use as well as air drying.