Journal of periodontology vol:74 issue:3 pages:312-22
BACKGROUND: Periopathogens and cariogenic species survive more than 48 hours on toothbrushes even under dry storage. This study examined a decontamination of toothbrushes by means of the bactericidal effect of different toothpastes or a special coating of the tufts. METHODS: Eight untreated periodontitis patients were professionally brushed, using a new toothbrush per quadrant and 3 different toothpastes containing either amine/stannous fluoride (AmF/SnF2), amine fluoride (AmF), or a mild surfactant as major antibacterial component (excipient), or no paste (C). The brushes were rinsed and stored dry at room temperature. At different time intervals, 4 tufts per toothbrush were processed for selective and non-selective culturing procedures. The protocol was repeated comparing AmF/SnF2 and C with 2 toothbrushes with coated tufts (coat1 and coat2). RESULTS: At baseline, C brushes (n = 16) harbored 10(7), 10(8), and 10(6) colony forming units (CFU) of aerobic, anaerobic, and black pigmented species, respectively. After 24 hours 10(6) CFU of aerobic and anaerobic species could still be cultured from 14 of the 16 brushes. Black-pigmented species remained detectable up to 4 hours; detection frequencies for Fusobacterium nucleatum and Streptococcus mutans at 24 hours were 5/16. With AmF/SnF2 and AmF toothpaste the number of adhering bacteria was already 2 log lower at baseline (P<0.05), but not for the excipient (0.5 log, P = 0.7). With AmF/SnF2 no vital species could be detected after 8 hours. AmF reduced the bacterial survival rate significantly more than the excipient, but less than AmF/SnF2 (P<0.05). The bactericidal effect of coat1 and coat2 was negligible when compared to C (P>0.20), and clearly inferior to the AmF/SnF2 paste (P<0.0001). After 24 hours these brushes still harbored >10(5) CFU. CONCLUSIONS: Toothpastes can significantly reduce contamination of toothbrushes, but their bactericidal activity is dependent on their composition. Coated tufts failed to limit the bacterial contamination.