Why You Should Never Use Someone Else's Toothbrush

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should never use someone else's toothbrush. Toothbrushes are full of germs and bacteria that can increase your risk of infection, especially if you're immunocompromised. "There are many thousands of different strains of bacteria in the mouth and the number varies from person to person," Ben Atkins, B.D.S., the clinical director at Revive DentalCare, told Women's Health. "As the purpose of brushing is to remove bacterial plaque, much of the bacteria remain on the bristles."

By sharing someone else's toothbrush, you're also sharing their germs, which can potentially expose you to viruses and harmful bacteria. Illnesses and diseases like colds, herpes, and periodontal disease are easily transmissible and can be transferred from one person to another by using the same toothbrush (via Well+Good). Even if the toothbrush looks clean, bacteria is microscopic, so there's no way of telling how much bacteria there really is. That's why it's best to use your own toothbrush and refrain from sharing it with anyone else.

What to do when you don't have a toothbrush

If you ever find yourself without a toothbrush, you can brush your teeth with your fingers instead. Finger brushing is much more sanitary than using someone else's toothbrush (via Healthline). Although it's not a viable option in the long run, it's a great, temporary fix when you're in a pinch and need to clean your teeth.

You can brush your teeth with your fingers by washing and drying your hands and placing a strip of toothpaste on your index finger, or any other finger that feels comfortable. Then, brush the front and back of your teeth in a circular motion. It's also important to make sure you brush above the gum line. If you don't have toothpaste, you can use a solution of baking soda and water. While finger brushing is better than not cleaning your teeth at all, it's not as effective as brushing your teeth with an actual toothbrush. That's why it should only be used as a last resort.