Well, this stinks.
Dr. Jordan Brown, a Florida dentist who has more than 183,000 followers on TikTok, is filling users in on the way to tell if their toothbrush is in the splash zone — and New Yorkers with small bathrooms may want to brace themselves.
“If you can see your toilet and your toothbrush in the same vision without moving your head, there’s a 99% chance you have fecal matter on your toothbrush,” the self-crowned “TikTok Dentist” explained.
“Aerosols from the toilet spray up in the air and they get everywhere — including on your toothbrush,” he continued in the clip that has pulled 768,000 views since it was posted this week.
In 2015, Quinnipiac University scientists explored the don’t-brush-where-you-flush theory by testing the “transmission of fecal coliforms” in communal bathrooms at the college. The study showed that toothbrushes “can serve as a vector” for toilet bacteria, viruses and parasites.
But before you rush to purchase a toothbrush cover, consider this warning from the researchers.
“Using a toothbrush cover doesn’t protect a toothbrush from bacterial growth, but actually creates an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the bristles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses,” study author Lauren Aber said at the time.
Northwestern University researchers decided to get to the bottom of the so-called “toilet plume” phenomenon by producing a study in 2021 claiming that the microbes on a toothbrush matches the users’ mouth — not their toilet.
“We found that the microbes on toothbrushes have a lot in common with the mouth and skin and very little in common with the human gut,” study co-author Ryan Blaustein said in a statement then.
But for germaphobes and those with smaller bathrooms, erring on the side of caution might be wise, as your toothbrush can harbor more than 100 million bacteria.
Experts suggest using a toothbrush sanitizer or dunking the bristles in hydrogen peroxide or Listerine between uses, but it may be difficult to find time to do a deep-clean before hitting the road to work or the hay at bedtime.
If the counter in a close-quarters bathroom is the only place to store your toothbrush, Brown has a simple solution: Keep the toilet lid closed when flushing.
“Flush with the toilet closed, fam,” the doc ordered in the comments section.
“I just have a small bathroom,” lamented one user.
“Who’s not closing their toilet seat?” wondered one bewildered viewer.
“I get so mad when people come over and flush without closing the lid,” agreed someone else.
“Adds flavor,” joked another.
“I rinse mine before I brush anyways,” someone else shrugged.