Are YOU brushing your teeth with someone else's poo? Experts say your toothbrush is probably covered in faeces

If you store your toothbrush in the bathroom, it’s highly likely that the head will be riddled with faeces particles that are flung into the air whenever someone flushes.

This means that toothbrushes can be the perfect breeding ground for germs and can get contaminated with potentially deadly bugs including E. coli and norovirus.

Ralitsa Prodanova, a hygiene expert with Fantastic Services, said that poo particles sitting on your toothbrush could pose grave health concerns.

She told “These bio-aerosols can be extremely harmful – and the airborne water droplets are often contaminated with viruses and bacteria.

“Previous scientific studies have shown how E. coli, Clostridium difficile and norovirus can all be transmitted in this way.

“And if you keep your toothbrush near your toilet, these potentially deadly bugs can land on the bristles – before you put them straight into your mouth, twice a day.

“Toothbrushes themselves are the perfect breeding ground for germs.”


In 2015, a study from the Quinnipiac University in Connecticut found there is a 60 per cent chance your toothbrush is covered in poop.

Even more concerning, the study found people using communal bathrooms with an average of nine people had around an 80 per cent chance that the faeces belonged to another person.

For the study, researchers examined the spread of faecal coliforms — rod-shaped bacteria found in human faeces — in communal bathrooms at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

They discovered that these coliforms made contact with toothbrush after spreading through the air as a result of actions such as flushing the toilet.


Researcher Lauren Aber said the phenomenon presented a dangerous health risk.

“The main concern is not with the presence of your own faecal matter on your toothbrush, but rather when a toothbrush is contaminated with faecal matter from someone else, which contains bacteria, viruses or parasites that are not part of your normal flora,” she told Science Daily.

It was also discovered that regularly rinsing your toothbrush with mouthwash, hot water or cold water had no effectiveness in decontamination.

And for those thinking a toothbrush cover is the solution, Aber has some very bad news.

“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,” she said.


The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Your bathroom is likely riddled with germs and while your toothbrush is the worst offender, it is closely followed by the bath.

The most common types of bacteria found in any bathroom are bacteroidaceae, or bacteria from poo, E.coli, streptococcus and salmonella.

We are regularly exposed to these types of bacteria on daily basis, not just in the bathroom, so the best way to prevent them spreading is to wash your hands.

Your toothbrush can contain at least 200,000 bacteria per square inch – that's more than a toilet seat.

According to a previous study at the University of Manchester your toothbrush can be home to staphylococci bacteria and E. coli, but you don’t need to panic because it still contains fewer bacteria than your mouth.

Most of the germs already exist in your mouth, so you probably won’t get sick from them.

But if you are worried, make sure you store your toothbrush somewhere it can dry out between uses and replace it regularly.

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