Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dangerous bacteria in toothbrush: Sanitize your toothbrush regularly to avoid diseases

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The toothbrush may clean the teeth and gums, but it can be a potential source of dangerous organisms including those that cause cholera, gastroenteritis, boils, infection of the ear, eye and skin and typhoid, if it is not sterilized regularly.
People, who have bathrooms with attached toilets, should be extra careful with their toothbrush as it can be contaminated by E coli, a bacterium that upsets the stomach leading to vomiting and diarrhoea. Even in bathrooms without attached toilet, several bacteria like Streptococcus mutans, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas, Lactobacillus and Klebsiella, besides Candida can be present in sufficiently large numbers to create major health problems.
Dentists suggest that the toothbrush should not be kept in bathrooms for hygienic reasons. They should be kept separately in a clean place outside the bathroom. The toothbrush should be cleaned regularly with anti-septic lotions to kill the germs. Toothbrush sanitizers can also be used. They recommend change in toothbrush when a hard deposit is noticed on the toothbrush head, between the bristle tufts.
As part of a research study, a team of dentists, collected 40 toothbrushes from bathrooms of various households. Twenty of them were from bathrooms with attached toilets, and the rest from bathrooms without attached toilets. Of the 20 toothbrushes each, 10 were used for a month and the rest for a period of three months.
“Micro-organisms were found in isolated form in toothbrushes used for one month, whereas in toothbrushes used for three months they are found in clumps. Hard deposit on the toothbrush head between bristle tufts is the medium for growth of micro-organisms, which not only affects the oral health but also affects the general health of an individual,” pointed out Dr GN Karibasappa.
The contamination of toothbrush could prove to be dangerous for people who are on immuno-suppressant drugs, heart patients and those with compromised or low immunity.
Lactobacillus causes the progression of the dental caries while Candida causes candidiasis. Pseudomonas is responsible for infections of ear, eye and urinary tract.Klebsiella is capable of producing septicemia, pneumonia, diarrhoea, urinary tract infections.

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