You and your spouse share just about everything, from the most important events in your life to the minutiae of water-cooler gossip from your respective jobs. You share ups and downs, you share a bed, and maybe you even share clothes (or at least wives steal their husbands’ well-worn tees).
What you should never share is a toothbrush. You might wonder why not. After all, most spouses kiss frequently, swapping saliva. You might even take food off each other’s forks. What’s the big deal about sharing a toothbrush?
You may be surprised to learn that there’s a big difference. Yes, you will share saliva and germs when you kiss or drink from the same glass, but sharing a toothbrush is another story. Here’s what everyone should know about the potential dangers of sharing a toothbrush.
Sharing Harmful Bacteria
Your mouth is teeming with bacteria, which is why dentists recommend a faithful regimen of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash after every meal, as well as regularly scheduled dental visits for cleaning, check-up, and x-rays. When you follow this routine, you can remove leftover food particles and bacteria from the mouth in order to promote good oral health.
That said, it’s only natural that bacteria would transfer to the bristles of your toothbrush, and from there to your spouse’s mouth when he/she uses the toothbrush next. In this way, bacteria can go back and forth between the two of you, and this can be dangerous because of the potential for spreading harmful bacteria.
What if one of you has a highly contagious ailment like strep throat? If you share a toothbrush, there’s a much higher risk that both of you will get it. Believe it or not, you can also share bacteria that are prone to causing cavities and periodontal diseases. This is best avoided.
Contact with the Bloodstream
In addition to transferring bacteria by sharing a toothbrush, there’s an even greater risk factor. Vigorous brushing could lead to bleeding of gums or other mouth surfaces, and this could allow harmful germs to get into the bloodstream. You probably didn’t think sharing a toothbrush meant sharing blood, but it could, and this is a major problem if one of you has bloodborne diseases, like hepatitis or HIV.
Why Are You Sharing?
Sometimes it’s convenient to share a toothbrush, or it may be a way to signal to your spouse that you’re comfortable sharing absolutely everything. However, you might not feel the same when you start getting colds, cavities, or worse. Do your marriage a favor and use separate toothbrushes – there are some things even spouses shouldn’t share.