Is Your Toothbrush Contaminated With Other People's Poop?

First Posted: Jun 07, 2015 11:47 PM EDT

Researchers at Quinnipiac University have made a bit of a gross discovery. Turns out that our toothbrush probably has someone else's poop on it, especially if we're leaving it out in the bathroom.

More specifically, study findings revealed that up to 60 percent of toothbrushes examined were contaminated with fecal matter.

"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 (microbes)," said study author Lauren Aber of Quinnipiac University, in a news release. 

Furthermore, 80 percent of the toothbrushes tested contained fecal matter that did not belong to their owner.

Researchers also found that different cleaning methods held no difference when it came to bacterial removal.

In addition, "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," Aber added, via The Chicago Tribune.  "Better hygiene practices are recommended for students who share bathrooms both in the storage of their toothbrush but also in personal hygiene."

The findings were presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.

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