Some personal things aren’t meant for sharing, like toothbrushes. However, accident may happen anytime.
What do you do if you accidentally share a toothbrush with HIV? Are you in danger? Sharing a toothbrush is unhygienic, no doubt.
It’s worse if one person is immunocompromised, as it can lead to the transfer of dangerous organisms. Everyone should know their toothbrush at home or, even better, label them if they look alike.
Further, adults, parents, or guardians should pay attention when children are brushing as they can easily mix up toothbrushes inadvertently. But should I freak out if my child used my toothbrush?
A one-time mistake shouldn’t cause you to freak out, but don’t leave children to brush alone. They should always do it under supervision to avoid such errors.
Let’s have more insight through out this article.
What happens if you accidentally use someone else’s toothbrush?
Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice daily to maintain proper oral health. When you don’t have your toothbrush, and it’s time to brush, you may wonder, is it bad to use someone else’s toothbrush once?
Yes. It’s unhealthy to use another person’s toothbrush. Although brushing is essential, it’s better to skip one session than share or, if you must use another person’s toothbrush, disinfect toothbrush with mouthwash before use. Here are the dangers you get exposed to when you share a toothbrush.
Exposure to Decay-Causing Bacteria
The mouth contains many bacteria that are specific to each person. Therefore, sharing a toothbrush means introducing strange bacteria to your mouth, which can affect oral health. A typical bacterium you can expose yourself from a toothbrush is streptococcus mutants which live in everyone’s mouth.
It’s harmless alone but dangerous when it digests sugar to create a powerful acid that erodes the enamel. When a person has more bacteria because of poor oral hygiene, they can transfer, increasing the chances of tooth decay.
Exposure to Periodontal Disease
Another bacteria in the mouth is porphyromonas gingivalis, but it only stays in an unhealthy mouth. The bacterium causes periodontal disease, characterized by painful gums, bleeding, tooth loss, and in extreme cases, bone loss.
If gingivitis is addressed early, it’s reversible. But once it escalates to periodontitis, only professional cleaning and medication can treat it.
Exposure to Various Viruses
Anytime you share anything with someone, you expose yourself to viruses. This is true for a toothbrush that may harbor virus-infected saliva. When someone has flu, you can catch it.
Unfortunately, you can contract a lifelong condition from sharing a toothbrush, primarily if you use a toothbrush from someone with an active sore from herpes. Be cautious because the sexually transmitted herpes, there is no cure, so you’ll have to live with it for life.
Exposure to Blood-Borne Illness
Blood-borne illnesses are spread through contact with infected blood when you have an open wound. Although it’s uncommon for these diseases to spread through sharing a toothbrush, you two must have oral bleeding.
For instance, if you both (you and whoever you’re borrowing a toothbrush from) suffer from a periodontal disease that causes severe bleeding, exposure to blood-borne diseases like HIV or hepatitis can happen.
Can HIV survive in toothpaste?
HIV can’t survive on a toothbrush because the virus is delicate when not inside the body. Moreover, a toothbrush has toothpaste that would kill the virus. Another observation is that if someone borrows a toothbrush and finds blood on it, it’s natural to wash it off until it’s clean.
This is a simple incident even to the most unclean individual, and if there’s blood on the toothbrush, it will wash away.
How long does HIV live on toothbrush?
HIV doesn’t survive long outside the human body, including on a toothbrush. When fluid leaves the body, and it’s exposed to air, it dries up, which makes it inactive. Studies indicate that when lab-grown HIV is left on a surface, it loses its infection ability 90 to 99% in hours.
The virus concentration tested in this case was higher than what’s in the body. Therefore, contact with dry blood to other bodily fluids poses little risk. Traces of HIV can be found in saliva, feces, sweat, and tears. However, it poses little risk.
Someone used my toothbrush; how do I clean it?
Bacteria can exist on a new toothbrush, not to mention the millions that live in the mouth daily. This is why dentists recommend brushing twice daily to maintain good oral health.
Some bacteria go down the drain after brushing, but a significant amount remains on the toothbrush. So, what should you do if you accidentally used dirty toothbrush? Here’s how to disinfect the toothbrush and how to keep it clean.
- Using warm water – The old-fashioned way of sterilizing using warm water is still common among many. However, you must do it properly to ensure it’s effective. After using your toothbrush, rinse it in warm water for 15 seconds, then keep it upright to dry.
- Using Peroxide – Sanitize toothbrush hydrogen peroxide by soaking it for about five minutes. Remove and rinse vigorously with hot water.
- Use Mouthwash – How long to soak the toothbrush in mouthwash? Soak it for five minutes, then rinse thoroughly with boiling water.
- Use a Dishwasher – Place your brush on the silverware and run the machine as usual.
- Boiling – Put the toothbrush in boiling water for about three minutes to kill germs.
- Use Vinegar and Baking Soda – Put two tablespoons of vinegar in a half cup of water, and add a half scoop of baking soda. Get your toothbrush and put it in the mix for 30 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I throw my toothbrush away after being sick?
You should dispose of your toothbrush after getting sick as a precaution to avoid re-infection. This is because germs get attached to the toothbrush, and they can sit to multiply and cause a different health problem or the same but worse.
Can HIV be transmitted through gums?
The virus enters the body via the bloodstream or bodily fluids in the vagina or rectum. However, the virus can also spread if someone has oral sex with bleeding gums, an open cut, or an ulcer in the mouth.
How long can bacteria live on toothbrush?
Bacteria can be on a toothbrush for weeks. The best way to limit bacteria is to change your toothbrush every three or four months immediately after getting sick.
How do you disinfect a toothbrush with mouthwash?
Put a half cup of mouthwash and stir the toothbrush bristles for 30 seconds. Your favorite mouthwash does not only kill germs in your mouth, but it can do the same for your toothbrush.
Can you get a cold sore from using someone’s toothbrush?
You can get a cold sore from using someone’s toothbrush. The virus can also spread by sharing water bottles, glasses, and silverware with someone with cold sores.
It’s not recommended to use another person’s toothbrush. However, if you find yourself in this position, you must first disinfect the toothbrush to avoid transferring bacteria to your mouth.
A good rinse in hot water can eliminate bacteria to prevent cross-contamination. The best alternative when you can’t access your toothbrush is to buy a new one or pass on brushing for the day.
Ensure that children brush under supervision, and keep all brushes in the open to dry, as this helps to fight the accumulation of bacteria.
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