I read with great interest and enthusiasm the article by Dr. mary Zolnowski-Casey in the May issue of the importance of good toothbrush care. i would like to point out several areas in the article which need further attention.
First, Dr. zolnowski-Casey states that in 16,000 articles on the toothbrush, she found only two articles that pertain to sanitization. Having been the first investigator to address the problems of disease transmission by the toothbrush. I would cite 18 articles and abstracts that I have personally authored dealing with the topic of toothbrush care.
Second, several of the above articles address the magnification of the toothbrush problem by allowing the toothbrush to be stored in the bathroom, as Dr. Zolnowski-Casey suggested. Our studies, which have been confirmed by other investigators, have found that the bathroom is the most contaminated room in the house. Conversely, our studies have also found that the contamination of the bathroom can be prevented by using an ultraviolet light toothbrush storage device such as the Purebrush Antibacterial Toothbrush Storage system (Murdock laboratories).
Third, when our studies looked at aerobic, facultative, anaerobic, obligate anaerobic, yeast/fungal and viral microorganism contaminated toothbrushes, we found that the only way to have uniform killing of all microorganisms was to use an ultraviolet light toothbrush storage device. Chemical treatments (such as Dr. Zolnowski-casey's suggestion), dishwashing, boiling, autoclaving and even microwaving either did not kill large numbers and groups of microorganisms or rendered the toothbrushes unusable.
The one caveat is that we were able to sterilize toothbrushes with ethylene oxide; however, this carcinogenic chemical has an affinity for the plastics of the toothbrush and the bristles and would therefore be inappropriate to use on a regular basis.
Again, let me compliment the journal of the American Dental Association and Dr. Zolnowski-Casey for publishing this article on a very important subject for every dental professional and every dental patient.
R. Tom Glass, D.D.S, Ph.D.
123 Primrose Road - Burlingame, CA