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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 15  |  Page : 196-201

Microbial contamination of daily used tooth brushes and affordable methods to diminish the microbial contamination

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Background: Depending upon storage conditions regularly used tooth brushes can become heavily contaminated with microorganisms and serve as reservoir for reintroduction of potential pathogens such as streptocoocus mutans and porphyromonas gingivalis. An attempt was made to find the predominance of various microorganisms, and to find an affordable method to eliminate or diminish the said microorganisms. Methods: Thirty subjects were selected having similar lifestyle and dietary habits on the basis of inclusion and exclusion criterion. Daily used tooth brushes were collected from them and cultured to find the predominance of microorganisms. The subjects were then given similar tooth brushes and were divided into three groups A, B, C. Group A was asked to wash their tooth brush and store it as usual. Group B was asked to thoroughly wash the tooth brush under running water before and after storing it. Group C was asked to thoroughly wash the tooth brush with luke warm salt water. All tooth brushes were collected and cultured with anaerobic blood agar, nutrient blood agar, mutans sangvis bacetracin agar and incubated for 48 hours. The colonies were then identified and counted. Result: Various pathogens such as streptococcus stahylococcus, e.coli, yeast, bascilli, and diplococcus were observed. Streptococcus and staphylococcus were found in all most all the tooth brushes. Among the three groups there was reduction in count of pathogens in the tooth brushes which were rinsed with tap water and warm salt water. The effect of cleaning tooth brush and diminished pathogens was observed. Conclusion: Rinsing with warm saline or tap water can be adopted as affordable and cost effective methods for reducing the microbial counts. Warm saline showed better results than tap water rinsing even though there was no statistically significant difference between the two methods.

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