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There's probably something very, very nasty on your toothbrush

Unless you live alone, that is.

Image: dirtyboxface via Flickr/Creative Commons

IF YOU SHARE a bathroom with some other people, it’s time you take your toothbrush out of it.

A new study has found that it’s highly likely you’re brushing your teeth with somebody else’s feces.

Researcher Lauren Aber of Quinnipiac University in some circumstances you have nothing to worry about:

The main concern is not with the presence of your own fecal matter on your toothbrush, but rather when a toothbrush is contaminated with fecal matter from someone else, which contains bacteria, viruses or parasites that are not part of your normal flora.

The study examined 135 toothbrushes from college students using shared bathrooms and found that at least 60 percent of them were contaminated, despite being washed with hot water or with a toothbrush cover.

This is because fecal matter can be sprayed up to six feet from a flushed toilet.

But making an effort to protect your brush might make matters worse, Aber said:

Using a toothbrush cover doesn’t protect a toothbrush from bacterial growth, but actually creates an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the bristles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses.

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Previous studies have found that your toothbrush can contain bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus and candida.

Written by Nicola Byrne and originally published on

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