Is Your Toothbrush Covered in Fecal Matter?

Nothing quite captures the media’s attention like a study claiming to show fecal matter in unlikely places. Last month, we explained the many problems with the widely covered “study” that suggested men’s beards were filled with poop. Now, the media is jumping on new research claiming that your toothbrush is likely covered with your roommate’s poop.

So, should you be scared to brush your teeth tonight?

We really can’t say. You see, the media is running with research that has merely been presented at a scientific conference—it hasn’t been published or peer-reviewed. All we know is that researchers at Quinnipiac University studied the university’s communal bathrooms, found more than 60% of toothbrushes collected tested positive for fecal matter, and found an 80% chance the fecal matter was from someone other than the user. But we don’t actually have the data researchers collected or any further information.

However, given that the bathroom is a place to poop, it is inevitable that there will be fecal bacteria all over the bathroom. And that it would be next to impossible to avoid contamination on any surface.

The advice offered by the study’s researchers is the same given by every dentist—change your toothbrush every 3-4 months, rinse your toothbrush after using, and allow to air dry.

Maybe college students’ toothbrushes are contaminated with poop that isn’t their own. It certainly wouldn’t be the first study to find fecal matter on toothbrushes. What we know for certain is that once again, the media jumped on interesting-sounding research before it was properly vetted.