Daily tooth brushing is essential for controlling plaque and maintaining oral health, but the condition of the toothbrush itself determines its effectiveness. Harmful bacteria may be able to reach the surface of a toothbrush through a variety of methods.

Microorganisms transferred from the mouth can live on a toothbrush after it is used. Germs in a bathroom may land on nearby items, including toothbrushes. Unlike many other health products, there is no assurance that a new toothbrush is sterile.

Germs are everywhere, but the immune system usually provides a defensive shield. The skin is the first line of defense. Microorganisms that travel past the skin and through a mucous membrane are normally neutralized by white blood cells, antibodies or stomach acids.

There is no clinical evidence that bacteria on toothbrushes causes any specific health malady. However, the ADA suggests buying a new toothbrush no less than every four months.

Creekside Dental is a Buffalo Grove dentist who offers the latest technology in dentistry.

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