Something new to scare you: Medical investigators have found that certain electrically powered toothbrushes contain up to 3,000 times as many bacteria as others.
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry determined that solid-head power toothbrushes retain less bacteria compared to hollow-head toothbrushes.
The study, published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene
, suggests certain types of toothbrushes can be a cause of germs and bacterial infections that have been linked to gum disease, heart problems, and even cancer, Medical Xpress
"Toothbrushes can transmit microorganisms that cause disease and infections. A solid-head design allows for less growth of bacteria and bristles should be soft and made of nylon," said lead researcher Donna Warren Morris. "It is also important to disinfect and to let your toothbrush dry between uses. Some power toothbrushes now include an ultraviolet system or you can soak the head in mouthwash for 20 minutes."
The study was conducted over a three-week period where participants brushed twice daily with one out of three randomly assigned power toothbrushes. Participants used non-antimicrobial toothpaste and continued their flossing routine, but refrained from using other dental products like mouthwash.
During the study the brush heads were exposed to five types of germs, including yeast, mold, and oral bacteria tied to gum disease.
"The packaging on most power toothbrushes won't distinguish between a hollow-head and a solid-head design," Morris said. "The best way to identify a solid-head design is through the connection to the body of the power toothbrush. Naturally, there will be some space to connect the two parts but a significant portion will be solid, up to the bristles or brush head.
"We do know and there are studies that have linked [certain oral bacteria] to colorectal cancer. Some of these other bacteria have been linked with cardiovascular disease. There is a high association with gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Researchers have been able to culture the same bacteria around the heart that causes gum disease. "
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