Down to the Bristles: The Best Storage Method for Your Toothbrush

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Barnett, Tina
Iascone, Stephanie
Wilson, Tricia
Monroe Community College
Community colleges -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- Periodicals. , student publications
Based on new technology, often dental hygienists are faced with the question of, “What is the best storage method for toothbrushes?” It is important for dental patients to know how to properly store their toothbrushes to prevent exposure to other harmful environmental bacteria, such as Escherichia Coli (E. coli). The purpose of this experiment was to assess the most effective storage method by determining which one produced the least amount of environmental bacteria. This simple experiment utilized six methods of storage: American Dental Association’s recommendation to keep stored in a dry, upright environment, dipped in antiseptic mouth rinse then placed in a holder in the bathroom, a Steri-Pod, a traditional travel holder, a UV sanitizer, and one simply placed in a toothbrush holder. Each toothbrush was unused and placed in the same bathroom within the designated storage method. One brush was cultured at the start of the experiment to determine a baseline for the amount of bacteria naturally occurring on packaged toothbrushes. After two weeks, a culture was taken from each of the brushes and allowed ample time to grow. The growth was visually measured, counted, and compared. We hypothesize that the toothbrush dipped in antiseptic mouthwash will produce the least amount of bacterial growth.