Toothbrushes are the common oral hygiene device used to enhance oral health as a result of microbial contamination and possible transmission of infectious diseases. A novel toothbrush becomes contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi within days of use, which remain viable for different periods of times. The present work aimed to assess the extent of microbial contamination of toothbrushes following use and to investigate the most appropriate time period for their replacement. Sixty participants were divided into five groups to represent different time periods and a control group. Each individual was supplied with a new standardized toothbrush. They were asked to apply selected measures in storage and handling. Toothbrushes were assessed microbiologically to determine the level of contamination at different time intervals. Data collected from the questionnaires and laboratory results were analyzed to assess contamination and cross-contamination. Bacterial growth on tested toothbrushes was 86%, while fungi accounted for 41.7%. A higher number of bacteria were isolated from toothbrushes before implementing instructions. The number of viable organisms found on toothbrushes and oral swabs were decreased after implementing use and storage instructions. The results indicated that new guidelines in use and storage conditions of toothbrushes can assist in avoiding microbial contamination. Believing in “Prevent the preventable”, guidelines should be identified, regarding toothbrush replacement especially for immunocompromised patients. Patients with systemic, localized, or oral inflammatory diseases should be educated to change their toothbrushes after recovery.
Toothbrushes, Microbial Contamination, Cross-Contamination, Guidelines