Research Article

Comparing Microbial Colonization and Types of Microorganisms between Oral-B and G.U.M Toothbrushes-A Pilot Study

Author: Michael W. Roberts

Background: The manual toothbrush is the most commonly used method of oral hygiene and removing microbial plaque. An important issue is that toothbrushes become contaminated in daily use by various microorganisms and have the potential of being colonized by potential pathogens. There are numerous brands of toothbrushes and patients frequently ask dentists or dental hygienists what brand they recommend. This study compared the microbial colonization and types of microorganisms on two brands of toothbrushes commonly used in Iran. Methods: This pilot study investigated 20 students (10 boys and 10 girls) using soft and medium types of Oral-B and G.U.M toothbrushes. Students were randomly divided into four groups and each group (N=5) used one type of toothbrush for one week. They were instructed to brush twice daily using the Modified Bass method. Following brushing, the brush was rinsed with running tap water for 30 seconds and stored in the open air outside of the bathroom. The used toothbrushes were collected at the end of each week and each group was randomly provided with another type of toothbrush. This procedure was repeated for three additional weeks. The used toothbrushes were transported in sterile test tubes to the laboratory for culturing. Microorganism colonization and morphology were evaluated after 24 and 48 hours. The data were analyzed by SPSS version 18 and the significant level was considered 0.05. Results: Oral-B and G.U.M toothbrushes were heavily contaminated by various microorganisms but the difference incolonization between them was not statically significant (P=0.272). Also, the microbial colonization was not statically different between soft and medium size of bristles (P=0.378). Conclusion: • The results of the present study indicated that both Oral-B and G.U.M toothbrushes with soft and medium bristles are contaminated with bacteria, especially staphylococcus, E. Coli and streptococci . • Contaminated toothbrushes may become a reservoir for potential pathogens. • Drying the toothbrushes in free air (outside the bathroom), using no cover for the toothbrushes, using tooth paste did not prevent the microbial contamination of toothbrushes in healthy young individuals. • This pilot study should be followed-up by one that includes a larger number of participants and with a greater in-depth identification of the bacterial colonization.