The (Unpleasant) Truth About Workplace Bathroom Tooth-Brushing

It’s a subject that often comes up around the workplace and never fails to divide opinions. Chances are, several people around your own office use the communal bathrooms around the place to brush their teeth. Maybe upon arrival, perhaps after lunch or just before their departure to wherever. But in any case, brushing your teeth at work is the kind of thing you either don’t see any problem with whatsoever or find absolutely disgusting.

You’ll also find that those on both sides of the argument have their own interesting facts and figures – most of which are contradictory and have probably been pulled out of thin air. But when it comes to the truth about workplace bathrooms and oral hygiene, should you really be bringing your toothbrush to work, or leaving it at home?

Well, the simple fact of the matter is that when it comes to oral hygiene, you should indeed be looking after your teeth throughout the day – not just morning and evening. In terms of brushing your teeth at work however, evidence suggests that this is the kind of practice most would get out of if they really knew what was happening behind the scenes. They may come away with a fresh feeling mouth and minty breath, but…well, let’s just say that’s not all they come out with.

Without getting too graphic, you need to think carefully about what exactly takes place in the bathroom. You use the toilet, after which you head over to the sinks to wash your hands. Prior to your hands being washed, they are no doubt affected by germs and could even play host to traces of faecal matter. Yes, it’s disgusting, but this is also why you wash your hands after going to the bathroom.

Now, it’s also important to remember that when you have finished washing your hands, it’s highly unlikely that you then spend an extensive period of time effectively cleaning and disinfecting the sink and the surrounding area. As such, you may have done a decent job washing your hands, but chances are there will still be plenty of nasty stuff left behind after you leave. And it’s the same way with everyone else that goes in – the resulting nastiness piling up and intensifying throughout the day.

What happens next? Well, some unfortunate individual then uses the same area in the same bathroom to clean their teeth. Unfortunately, a study carried out just a couple of years ago by the American Society for Microbiology found that 60% of toothbrushes that are used in shared bathrooms tested positive for faecal matter. Worse still…sort of…80% of the tainted brushes were found to have been contaminated with unpleasantness that came not from the owner of the toothbrush, but from someone else.


And there you have it – the hard, if slightly unpleasant facts as to why it probably isn’t a good idea to brush your teeth in shared bathrooms. There are plenty of ways you can keep your mouth clean and healthy throughout the day – just make sure that this isn’t one of them!

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