New product, book links dirty toothbrushes to illness

Feb. 16, 2005
Book presents medical support on why toothbrushes may be associated with a wide range of every day and more serious health risks.

There has been a lot of talk recently about your trusty toothbrush and whether you really can trust it.

Now, the first book on the topic has been published in time for National Children's Dental Health Month. The book is being offered free to consumers in February from Germ Terminator, the leading toothbrush sanitizer.

Why Your Toothbrush May Be Killing You ... Slowly has been written by James Song, a biochemist and inventor of the Germ Terminator Toothbrush Sanitizer, with a team of medical advisors.

The book presents extensive medical support on why toothbrushes may be associated with a wide range of every day and more serious health risks, from transmission of cold and flu between family members to systemic, chronic inflammation that has been strongly linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The book cites such examples as an article in the September 2001 Journal of the American Dental Association that stated, "Studies have shown that contaminated toothbrushes not only harbor, but also transmit both viruses and bacteria that cause systemic, localized and oral inflammatory diseases."

Just over one year ago, Song brought to market the Germ Terminator Toothbrush Sanitizer as part of his mission to rid the world of the "dirty" toothbrush health risk. The Germ Terminator is an innovative oral heath care product that kills greater than 99.9999% of toothbrush germs. Using natural steam and dry heat, it takes only seconds to use after brushing and then stores toothbrushes between uses in a completely germ-free environment. The product is modeled after the steam device used in dental offices -- the autoclave -- to sterilize instruments.

In recent months, other toothbrush sanitizers have appeared on the market as consumers and retail stores begin to understand the importance of a clean toothbrush.

But Song's toothbrush sanitizer, with its innovative steam and dry heat technology, is the only sanitizer that is an FDA-cleared medical device and has the highest germ kill rate (99.9999%) of any toothbrush sanitizer. Other toothbrush sanitizers can leave up to 1000 times more germs on a toothbrush than the Germ Terminator.

According to Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, steam is the best way to sanitize toothbrushes. "Steam is the most effective method of sanitization. Other methods including UV can be hindered by a shadow effect. So, if bacteria is behind bristles, which is often the case, UV won't reach and kill those germs," says Gerba.

Recently, Germ Terminator Corporation sponsored an independent national consumer survey on oral health habits (1,000 adults, aged 18-65). Of those surveyed, only 2.9% claimed to sanitize their toothbrush 4-6 times a week and the vast majority never do.

Less than half of consumers do not change their toothbrush after being sick and the majority do not know that most toothbrushes are contaminated with germs, including E. Coli that are propelled into the air after toilet flushing. The survey also found that a
striking 30.9% of adults have shared a toothbrush.

"Toothbrushes that are not steam sanitized, but rinsed and shared, or stored together in a cluster, are breeding grounds for infectious, highly communicable organisms like viruses that cause the flu and common cold and bacteria that cause oral infections (like gingivitis and more serious gum diseases)," says Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, former president, American Dental Hygienists' Association.

Consumers will automatically receive a free copy of Why Your Toothbrush May Be Killing You...Slowly with purchase of a Germ Terminator Toothbrush Sanitizer. Consumers who purchase at retail stores should simply contact Germ Terminator at 800-247-1000 and demonstrate proof of purchase to receive their book. Consumers can also receive a free copy without
purchasing a Germ Terminator by calling 800-247-1000 (shipping/handling will be $3.95).

The Germ Terminator is an FDA 510k-cleared medical device. The toothbrush sanitizer, which retails for $59.99 is available at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Linens N Things, Fred Meyer (part of the Kroger Company), Kmart, on the web at or by calling 800-247-1000.