At the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting in New Orleans, a disturbing scientific finding was announced: If you share a bathroom, there is most likely fecal matter, yes poop, on your toothbrush. The Inquisitr explained the findings in an earlier report and gave some tips for keeping your toothbrush poop-free, but it begs the question: How is it that 60 percent of toothbrushes in shared bathrooms test positive for poop contamination? And how is it that eight out of 10 times, that poop-residue came from someone else?
Certainly there isn’t a hidden habit of groping other people’s toothbrushes after using the bathroom. After all, most people wouldn’t want to touch someone else’s toothbrush for the same reason we don’t want other people touching our toothbrushes. We don’t like to share bathroom germs.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 4, 2015
The reason there are traces of poop on toothbrushes stored in most people’s shared bathrooms is simple and absolutely disgusting.
“Every time you flush with an open lid, bacteria spray into the air around your toilet,” according to a Prevention Magazine report. The towel on the edge of the bathtub in the photo above suddenly looks much less elegant.
A couple of years ago, Leeds University researchers tested the air above toilets for one of the most hostile germs humans fight today: C. difficile. The dangerous bacteria are shot from the toilet bowl upwards of 10 inches above a toilet seat from a single flush. An hour and a half after every flush, water droplets contaminated with bacteria could be found on nearby bathroom surfaces. Where do you leave your toothbrush? Do you have a toothbrush cup or toothbrush stand on the sink right next to the toilet in your shared bathroom? Do you stand by the toilet as it flushes? Are razors and cosmetics stored on the counter beside the toilet?
— Real Simple Magazine (@RealSimple) June 5, 2015
While children, and even some adults, seem to be in the habit of closing the lid of the toilet only after watching the poop spin down the drain, closing the lid before flushing can reduce the spread of poop-contaminated water droplets by 10 times.
Suddenly, when looking at a photo of the tiny bathroom on the street with one-way mirrors, the most unsettling part is that the toilet seems to be missing a lid. Maybe we should consider bringing our own toilet paper from home when using public restrooms from now on.
Public Toilet On The Street Made Of One Way Mirrors pic.twitter.com/oO1SfYQ4D6
— Tips & Tricks (@awkwardgoogle) August 6, 2014
You might not trust your housemates and family members to close the lid before flushing, and you might be tempted to run to the store and purchase a toothbrush cover, but the Medical News Today report claims that toothbrush covers only encourage bacteria to grow and thrive. Study author Lauren Aber, of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, explained.
“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.”
As if it couldn’t get any more disgusting, Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology, explained just how easy it is for poop to get into your toothbrush — making it seem like outhouses weren’t so gross after all.
“Polluted water vapor erupts out of the flushing toilet bowl and it can take several hours for these particles to finally settle — not to mention where… If you have your toothbrush too close to the toilet, you are brushing your teeth with what’s in your toilet.”
Will you need to move your toothbrush to protect yourself from other people’s poop residue, or is the idea of a separate toilet room outside of the house sounding more appealing by the minute?
[Photo via Pixabay]