Common sense would seem to dictate that sharing your toothbrush is not a good idea, even if it is only shared with your significant other. Perhaps one of you forgot to pack their own on a trip away from home, but your toothbrush is personal in nature and should not be lent even in a pinch. Other than finding someplace to buy a new one, your loved one will need to skip brushing and may feel uncomfortable. This situation may end with your agreeing to share just until a new toothbrush can be found, but the consequences could be an unfortunate diagnosis of one of the following conditions:
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that can be present in a toothbrush unless it has been sterilized after every use. Most people continue using the same toothbrush without ever sterilizing it, and they simply purchase a new one when the old one wears out.
Oral herpes causes the painful and unsightly cold sores that some people seem to develop when their immune system is compromised. This happens most often during winter when colds and flu viruses are common. A shared toothbrush can harbor the herpes simplex virus even though no cold sores are present at the time.
Hepatitis C is a viral condition with symptoms that can be serious, although not life-threatening. Suffers typically experience a loss of appetite, jaundice and nausea. This condition is very contagious and can easily be contracted by using a contaminated toothbrush.
Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus, and is easily transmitted through saliva and blood. The condition is more common among young people in college or high school. It is also called the ‘kissing disease’ for obvious reasons. Sharing the toothbrus of someone harboring the virus will almost certainly result in a diagnosis of the virus.
While sharing the toothbrush of someone you have an intimate relationship with probably will not result in additional exposure to any health conditions. Since you are already exposed to any bacteria and viruses present in their mouth during a kiss, sharing a toothbrush is unlikely to pose any danger. However, you may still have an aversion to sharing simply because it seems a bit gross.
Have more questions about a contracted gum disease? Give our office at Salcetti & Associates a call. We have the tools and training to tackle the toughest of oral diseases.