“Are these maggots?” asks this reader about the worm-like organisms he found on his toothbrush. The creatures appear to be very small, with thin, white, nondescript bodies that appear to be legless.
“How did they get in my toothbrush bristles?” he also asks, which is a very good question. “I use a toothbrush cover, I wash my toothbrush after every use, and I just noticed these little worms today in my toothbrush right before I stuck it in my mouth.”
Our reader explains that he circled the worms in the photo to indicate where they are, considering the creatures’ minuscule size. We want to clarify to him that we took the liberty of drawing over his lines with a red color, as the previous black lines almost looked like they could be worms themselves, and even had us confused for a moment. Without our reader’s clarification, we might have completely misidentified the organisms we were meant to look at.
In any case, the photo is still taken so far from the organisms, making it very difficult to discern any of the details one might potentially see upon zooming in on the creatures. For that reason, we will not be able to confirm or deny if these are maggots with any degree of confidence. We would like to say that they are not maggots, as they tend to be larger, but at the same time, ‘maggots’ is a general term which refers to a whole host of species of fly larvae, and there is not a catch-all size that can be applied to them.
Now, as to how worm-like organisms got on our reader’s toothbrush, that too is a mystery. Perhaps the worms came up from the drain of our reader’s sink and found their way to his toothbrush. In this case, it might be time for him to clean the drains in his bathroom (which he should anyway do regularly to avoid organisms crawling up them!). Alternatively, as disturbing it is to suggest, perhaps the worms came from his mouth: maybe from an infested piece of food that was stuck in his teeth. We must admit that we are not sure at all.
If our reader is concerned that these worms did come from his mouth, then we suggest that he consult a medical parasitologist. Unfortunately, we are not medical professionals, and so cannot give any advice when it comes to organisms that (potentially) come from people’s bodies, and which may be causing them harm. A medical parasitologist, on the other hand, is a qualified physician who specializes in this particular field.
So, if our reader would like to consult a medical parasitologist, then what we can recommend is that our reader do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in his area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
2) Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
4) Contact Dr. Vipul Savaliya of Infectious Disease Care (“IDCare”) at idcarepa.com.
We should note that both Dr. Amin and Dr. Savaliya are available for online consultation, so our reader does not need to be in the vicinity of their physical offices to get help!
To conclude, we are not sure what these “maggots” on our reader’s toothbrush are and how they got there. We apologize for our inability to provide the answers he wants, though we hope that our suggestions prove helpful nonetheless. We wish him the best!