A surprising number of people have admitted to sharing a toothbrush, with even more admitting that they would consider doing the same, in a dental study.
Almost one in ten (9.7 per cent) of those questioned said they had shared a toothbrush, and 11 per cent said they would consider doing it if needed.
The research, conducted as part of National Smile Month, also discovered that many other oral health practices leave a lot to be desired. One in five said they had used their finger to brush their teeth, one in ten said they had used something other than toothpaste, and almost two in five said they had only rinsed their mouth out with water instead of brushing.
Perhaps more shockingly, one in seven of us use household items such as business cards, credit cards and earrings to clean in-between our teeth.
More than 2,000 people were questioned as part of National Smile Month, the nation’s annual reminder about the importance of oral health.
The campaign, which runs from 19 May to 19 June, encourages everyone to brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, cut down on their consumption of sugary foods and drink, and visit their dentist regularly.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, explained why people should avoid cutting corners in their oral hygiene routine, particularly when it comes to sharing toothbrushes.
“Sharing a toothbrush leaves people susceptible to all sorts of oral and general health problems,” said Dr Carter. “Just because you kiss your partner or occasionally share a fork or spoon during mealtimes with them does not justify using their toothbrush too.
“This is because brushing sometimes causes gums to bleed, which exposes everyone you share your toothbrush with to blood stream diseases.
“Therefore, by sharing a toothbrush, you are actually sharing blood, which is a lot riskier than just sharing saliva.”
Instead of sharing a toothbrush, Dr Carter offered some advice on how to maintain your toothbrush to get the very best out of it. He recommends changing it once every three months to prevent bacterial growth and sharp bristles.
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