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Analysis of Microbial Contamination and Antibacterial Effect Associated with Toothbrushes
J Dent Hyg Sci 2018;18:296-304
Published online October 31, 2018;
© 2018 Korean Society of Dental Hygiene Science.

Ji-Hyang Kim, Da-Ae Kim, Hee-Soo Kim, Ji-Yeon Baik, So-Hee Ju, and Seol-Hee Kim

Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Medical Science, Konyang University, Daejeon 35365, Korea
Correspondence to: Seol-Hee Kim Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Medical Science, Konyang University, 158 Gwanjeodong-ro, Seo-gu, Daejeon 35365, Korea Tel: +82-42-600-8449 Fax: +82-42-600-6565, E-mail:, ORCID:
Received September 3, 2018; Revised September 21, 2018; Accepted September 28, 2018.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

The purpose of this study was to propose a method for the effective management of toothbrush contamination. Toothbrush microbial contamination was analyzed according to the duration of toothbrush use, frequency of toothbrush use per day, and toothbrush storage location. We also analyzed the microbial reduction effect of vinegar, antimicrobial mouth rinse, bamboo salt, and baking soda, which are sterilization materials that can be easily used every day. We collected 45 toothbrushes from university dormitories from May to June 2018. To determine the degree of microbiological contamination with general bacteria, coliform bacteria, and Staphylococcus aureus, bristle samples were cultured at 36°C for 24 hours using 3M™ Petrifilm plates and then measured based on Petrifilm evaluation criteria. Toothbrush microorganisms were analyzed according to the duration of use, frequency of use per day, storage location, and effect of each sterilization material. General bacteria, coliforms, and S. aureus contamination increased with frequency and duration of use (p<0.05). In particular, S. aureus showed a statistically significant increase to 36.15 CFU/ml after 1 month, 504.23 CFU/ml after 2 months, and 2,386.67 CFU/ml after 3 months (p<0.05). We found that 1% vinegar was the most effective substance for reducing general bacteria, coliforms, and S. aureus. In addition, 1% antimicrobial mouth rinse solution applied for 5 minutes was the most effective in reducing S. aureus. It is crucial to recognize the importance of toothbrush care and store toothbrushes in a dry place and replace them periodically. We recommend use of vinegar and antimicrobial mouth rinse solution to disinfect toothbrushes. These should be applied as a 1% solution for at least 1 minute. Proper care of toothbrushes is important in maintaining oral health as well as overall health. Instructions on toothbrush care should be given when teaching children or adults how to brush teeth.

Keywords : Contamination, Microorganisms, Oral hygiene, Sterilization, Toothbrushing

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