But if you borrow your partner’s toothbrush from time to time, you’re not alone: In a survey of more than 1,100 Match.com members, the online dating platform found that 22% of participants admitted to having do—and 76% of them never even told their partners about the intense encounter.
This habit doesn’t seem so bad—you’re sharing it with someone you laugh at, after all. But according to orthodontist Ana Castilla, DDS, spit swaps and brush swaps aren’t the same thing — they’re exactly the same. And that’s why she would never recommend it.
“The mouth is home to hundreds of different species of bacteria and sometimes certain viruses that can be easily passed from person to person by sharing toothbrushes, including the culprit behind the infection. colds, flu, herpes and even periodontal disease,” says Dr. Castilla. “Kissing someone is one thing. Getting plaque and bacteria off someone’s teeth and then scrubbing it off yourself is another.”
“Kissing someone is one thing. Getting plaque and bacteria off someone’s teeth and then scrubbing it off yourself is another.” —Ana Castilla, DDS
Dr. Castilla says that when you kiss someone, you are essentially sharing saliva. However, when you use someone else’s toothbrush, there’s a chance you’re introducing bacteria or viruses they’re harboring into your own bloodstream. “This is because for many people, brushing their teeth can lead to bleeding gums, especially if the person has gingivitis or periodontal disease, which affects 47 percent of people 30 and older in the United States.” United, according to the CDC,” she said. . “Even if you believe you’re both perfectly healthy, when it comes to bacteria and infection, it’s really a matter of quantity. The less bacteria spread around, the better for people. relate to.”
And it doesn’t matter if the toothbrush look cleaned and it is properly stored. Regularly disinfecting your toothbrush isn’t necessary, but bacteria not visible to the naked eye lurks everywhere. “Small, snake-like bacteria get trapped between stiff hairs,” says Nammy Patel, DDS. So the next time you get stuck without a toothbrush, use your (sanitized) fingers and run outside to get yourself a toothbrush. It is better than getting infected with a large amount of pathogenic bacteria every day.