Warning over shared toothbrushes

The majority of Britons would be happy to let someone else use their toothbrush, according to a recent UK survey.

The results of the National Smile Month Survey, commissioned by the British Dental Health Foundation in association with Healthplan provider HSA, showed that over 60% of people would be willing to let their partners, children, friends and even celebrities borrow their toothbrush.

The survey also found that men were more protective of their brushes than women, with almost half of the men surveyed 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, said: ‘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. Whilst 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 three months, and not letting anyone else borrow it.

‘You should brush twice-a-day 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.’

Abby Bowman from HSA agreed, saying: ‘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.’

The survey was commissioned to mark the currently-running National Smile Month. The campaign will run until 12 June under the tagline ‘Two Minutes Twice a Day’.

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