Forgot your toothbrush on your recent trip, so shared one with you spouse/friend/sister? You may not have realized that the bacteria remaining on a toothbrush from the mouth could cause you to become sick or even kill you.
We all understand our hands become dirty and understand we transmit germs and virus’ by touching, but few people know that the mouth is home to more than 700 species of bacteria according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Bacteria that can be shared by kissing, sharing the same cup, spoon/fork and yes- your toothbrush because you are essentially swapping bodily fluids, in this case, saliva.
Not all 700 species are harmful, but staph and e. coli can lead to illness. The common cold and strep are the most likely to make you sick, but pneumonia, herpes, and even HIV and HPV (human papilloma virus), can also be transmitted by sharing toothbrushes. So basically, swapping brushes means that whatever was in their mouth is now in yours- especially if they don’t rinse, clean or change it often.
If you find yourself without a toothbrush, using a clean finger or wet washcloth would be the best option. Good toothbrush maintenance includes these tips from the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy website.
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to parents concerning ingredients of homeopathic teething agents sold to parents for their baby’s discomfort as teeth erupt.
The FDA found varying amounts of belladona, a toxic substance, in some homeopathic teething tablets and gels. The warning issued recommends not using these products, and was based on reports of adverse events.
Belladona can cause seizures, muscle weakness and exhaustion. On its website, NBC News (1/27, Fox) reported that belladona “is an extract of the deadly nightshade plant,” has hallucinogenic properties, and “is highly toxic in large amounts.”
Please click this link from ADA’s mouthhealthy.org for more information on the proper way to treat children’s teething discomfort.
Try some of the suggestions found in the link above, and remember, your baby’s first dental checkup should be after the first tooth erupts or age one, whichever comes first.
February marks Children’s Dental Health Month, and also another important holiday which includes candy! No time like the present to review six top tips for your children’s teeth before those Valentines are handed out!
- Children are born with 20 teeth below their gums, and most will have their full set by age 3. They usually start coming through the gum by age 6 months to 1 year.
2. Decay can start as soon as you see teeth in your child’s mouth. Start brushing with a small amount of toothpaste (a “skiff”) as soon as you see your child’s teeth.
3. Start brushing your child’s teeth twice per day, after breakfast and before bed with a “skiff” of fluoridated toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. After age three, toothpaste should be no more than a pea-sized amount.
4. Schedule your baby’s first dental visit after their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. Why so early? As soon as your baby has teeth, they can get cavities.
5. Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they touch together. It is fine to floss before or after brushing, and to use child-friendly plastic floss holders to more easily floss their teeth until they are older and can do it themselves.
6. When your child is thirsty, water is the best beverage, especially if it’s fluoridated. Drinking water with fluoride (“nature’s cavity fighter”) has been shown to reduce cavities by 25 percent.