International Journal of Experimental Dental Science

Register      Login

VOLUME 2 , ISSUE 1 ( January-June, 2013 ) > List of Articles


Toothbrush: A Favorable Media for Bacterial Growth

Varun Kulkarni

Citation Information : Kulkarni V. Toothbrush: A Favorable Media for Bacterial Growth. Int J Experiment Dent Sci 2013; 2 (1):27-28.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10029-1035

Published Online: 01-06-2015

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2013; The Author(s).



In this era of stem cell transplantation, tissue engineering and piezosurgery, it is important to consider the toothbrush as a source of potential pathogens. As toothbrush plays an important everyday role for personal oral hygiene and effective plaque removal. Oral cavity incubates diversity of microorganisms; therefore it is not surprising that some of these microorganisms were transferred to toothbrush during use. Presence of nutrients, epithelial debris and oral secretions make the toothbrush a favorable media for numerous bacterial growths.


The main aim of this study was to evaluate the microbial flora predominantly present in toothbrushes.

Materials and methods

Samples of 150 different used toothbrushes from healthy population were taken randomly for microbial analysis. Samples of toothbrushes were put in Robertson cooked meat (RCM) media for both aerobic and anaerobic microbial recognition. Inoculation was done on blood agar and MacConkey's agar plate and culture plates were incubated for 24 hours.


Fifty-four samples showed facultative anaerobes growth, i.e. Streptococcus mutans, Alpha-hemolytic streptococci, coagulase negative Staphylococci (CONS) and diphtheroids. Sixty-six samples showed polymicrobial etiology and 30 showed purely anaerobic bacteria, i.e. Bacteroides, Lactobacilli.


Toothbrush is thus considered a potential biohazard for reintroduction of microorganisms in the oral cavity. New oral hygiene devices like Dental Air Force home dental cleaning system will emerge as true alternative for toothbrush.

How to cite this article

Saini R, Kulkarni V. Toothbrush: A Favorable Media for Bacterial Growth. Int J Experiment Dent Sci 2013;2(1):27-28.

PDF Share
  1. Boston Med J 1920;183:263-69.
  2. The microbial contamination of toothbrushes: A pilot study. Aust Dent J 1998;43:128-30.
  3. Characteristics of bristle end rounding and anchoring in brand new and used adult's toothbrushes (in German). Dtsch Zahnarztl Z 1995;50:517-24.
  4. Bristle end rounding and anchoring in children's toothbrushes (in German). Schweiz Monatsschr Zahnmed 1990;100:159-64.
  5. Harvard Gazette book review-Overkill. Kimberly Thompson. Harvard Gazette Archives 2002.
  6. Appl Environ Microbiol 1975;30(2):771-80.
  7. Practical medical microbiology (14th ed). In: College JG, Fraser AG, Marmion BP, Simmons A (Eds). New York: Churchill Livingstone 1996:501-19.
  8. Microbial flora on toothbrush: At greater risk. Ann Nigerian Med 2010;4:31-32.
  9. Toothbrush contamination: A potential health risk. Quintessence Int 1986;17:39-42.
  10. Periodontal health 2020: The future outlook. Int J Experiment Dent Sci 2012;1(2):V.
PDF Share
PDF Share

© Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) LTD.