There are more than 10 million bacteria on each of your patients' toothbrushes, according to a recent study at the University of Manchester. That means there are considerably more bacteria on a toothbrush than an average toilet seat (which has 50 bacteria per square inch) or average public lavatory floor (2 million bacteria per square inch).

Most people don't realise that every time they flush the loo an aerosol spray of tainted water is released, with droplets able to land as far away as 10 feet. Researchers from the University of Alabama found that brushes stored in the bathroom are contaminated with faecal matter lingering in the bristles. Toothbrushes aren't particular about whose faecal matter it is, so it's likely it won't just be patients' own which is going into their mouth every time they clean their teeth!

Fortunately, it is now possible to safeguard a toothbrush in a new way. Hot on the heels of its success in the USA, the Steripod toothbrush protector is now available in the UK. Easy to use, Steripod simply snaps onto the head of any manual or electric toothbrush, creating a protective 'pod' which physically surrounds the head and shields it from both airborne and cross contamination.

Steripod is designed to protect the brush against environmental contamination for up to three months by exuding 'active vapours' – a laboratory-formulated thymol compound which is also used in a number of mouthwashes and oral anti-septics. The product has been specially designed so that air can circulate freely which means the brush can dry naturally – contaminants require a moist atmosphere to multiply most effectively, so the drier the brush, the lower the risk of contaminants multiplying in the bristles.

Unlike other toothbrush sanitisers, Steripod is completely portable and does not require batteries or cables, meaning that it's easy to protect a brush wherever it is used; at home, on holiday, or out and about. It is also highly cost effective at £4.99 for a pack of two – providing six months of protection. For these reasons Steripod makes the ideal adjunct to any practice selling toothbrushes as it is designed to be changed at the same time as a brush at three monthly intervals.

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