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Is Your Tooth Brush Harming Your Health? Plus, Pregnancy and Chiropractic Info

Your toothbrush serves as a storage bin for microorganisms and can become contaminated with infectious organisms soon after its first use.  The contamination grows with each use thereafter, according to a systematic review of toothbrush contamination published in the journal Nursing Research and Practice.  One study found heavy contamination with pathogenic microorganisms in 70% of toothbrushes after use, and many different types of bacteria were detected on toothbrushes in another study, with varying amounts of growth. The best way to store your toothbrush is in a dry environment where it can air-dry. Placing your toothbrush into a closed container isn’t a good idea, as this may keep your toothbrush moist, allowing bacteria to flourish. Toothbrushes stored in closed containers, or those that came in contact with contaminated surfaces, contain higher levels of bacteria than toothbrushes allowed to dry in the open air.  The shape and design of your toothbrush may also affect its ability to retain germs. Specifically, if your bristles are frayed (which happens as toothbrushes age and use) or arranged in a very close-together pattern, it’s possible that they’ll trap and retain more bacteria. Another factor in your toothbrush’s cleanliness is the common habit of storing them in bathrooms, where toilets are routinely flushed.  When a toilet is flushed, toilet droplets are released into the air, and it’s possible that this could spread infectious disease, in part by the airborne microorganisms landing on your toothbrush.  Some research has found that soaking toothbrushes in mouthwash for 20 minutes before and after brushing may lower its antimicrobial load. A more effective way and one of the simplest ways to clean your toothbrush is to dip it into 3% hydrogen peroxide. This was the most effective option for reducing both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria on the toothbrush head, compared to mouthwash and water, and may reduce bacterial load by 85%.  Antimicrobial toothbrushes coated with triclosan did not alter bacterial growth on toothbrushes either, and should be avoided due to triclosan’s toxicity. Be aware that if a toothbrush is labeled “antibacterial,” it may contain triclosan, an antibacterial chemical and known endocrine disrupter. Triclosan is definitely a topic for a future health article.  As this ingredient is in many of our household products.


Chiropractic Thought for the Week:  A recent addition of the Harvard University Newsletter reported on a 2018 study of lower back pain patients who used chiropractic care.  The study found that chiropractic patients reported less pain intensity, experienced less disability and more improvement in function, reported higher satisfaction with their treatment and needed less pain medicine. The study concluded that patients seeing a chiropractor for uncomplicated low back pain by and far experienced terrific results.


Chiropractic Pregnancy Prenatal Care Info:  Women who could become pregnant or are planning a pregnancy are advised to take a folic acid supplement before pregnancy and to continue taking it until their 12th week of pregnancy. However, in a survey of half a million women in England, only one in three said they followed this advice.  Folic Acid supplementation prevents about 80% of spinal cord neural tube defects, which result in life-threatening and disabling spinal conditions such as spina bifida and anencephaly. 

Dr J. Zimmerman, Chiropractor Dr. Zimmerman is a practicing chiropractor from Galloway, NJ with 30 years of chiropractic practice.

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