Did you know solid-head power toothbrushes are better hygiene-wise compared to the hollow-head ones? According to researchers from University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Dentistry, hollow-head power toothbrushes retain more bacteria. In nine out of ten comparisons, microbial counts in solid-head power toothbrushes were lower than the hollow-heads, lead research author Prof. Donna Warren Morris, R.D.H., M.Ed., revealed.

“Toothbrushes can transmit microorganisms that cause disease and infections,” Prof. Morris said. “[But] a solid-head design allows for less growth of bacteria.” She added that the bristles should be soft and nylon-made.

The study was carried out for three weeks where participants were told to brush their teeth twice each day. In addition, the participants were only given non-antimicrobial but were allowed to continue with their flossing routine. However, they refrained from using other dental products.

Following the conclusion of the study, the researchers revealed that the power toothbrushes, as well as its users, were exposed to five different types of microorganisms:

(1) anaerobes and facultative microorganisms,
(2) yeast and mold,
(3) oral streptococci and oral enterococci anaerobes,
(4) Porphyromonas gingivalis, and (5) Fusobacterium species.

While bacterial growth found in toothbrushes are not known to cause health problems, Prof. Morris said it is associated with systemic diseases such as colorectal cancer, which is linked with the Fusobacterium species. There is also a concrete association between gum disease and these bacteria.

In most cases, packaging of most power toothbrushes do not provide labels or identifying markings to identify whether it is a hollow-head or a solid-head. To distinguish solid-head power toothbrushes from hollow-heads, Prof. Morris has this to say: “The best way to identify a solid-head design is through the connection to the body of the power toothbrush. Naturally, there will be some space to connect the two parts but a significant portion will be solid, up to the bristles or brush head.”

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