Experts warn that toilet paper does little to remove feces and the United States is one country that hasn’t improved its sanitation when wiping.
While countries such as Japan, Italy and Greece use bidets in the toilets as a way to keep the anus clean, the US has mostly relied on toilet paper as the norm to keep that area clean. But doctors say excessive wiping could cause health problems such as anal fissures and urinary tract infections. Though the suggestion may sound absurd, celebrities such as will.i.am, Will Smith and Terrence Howard have been vouching for baby wipes instead of tissue for years – with Smith even hailing the habit as ‘special and incredible’.
Toilet bidets are one sanitation device that countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece have implemented in most bathrooms to clean the anus after using the bathroom.
According to Tonic, 90 percent of households in Italy, Spain and Greece have a bidet installed in their bathroom for cleaning.
This device squirts water into the area to make cleaning with toilet paper easier.
But it is not as easy to find one of these in a restroom in the United States.
Bidet suppliers have reported that moving into the American market has been more difficult because most people are satisfied with just using toilet paper.
Rose George, author of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters, told Tonic why using toilet paper doesn’t remove feces like it should.
‘I find it rather baffling that millions of people are walking around with dirty anuses while thinking they are clean,’ George said. ‘Toilet paper moves sh*t, but it doesn’t remove it.’
Will.i.am said in a past interview with Elle Magazine that baby wipes are what most people should consider using in terms of wiping.
‘Here’s proof on why people should have baby wipes. Get some chocolate, wipe it on a wooden floor, and then try to get it up with some dry towels. You’re going to get chocolate in the cracks. That’s why you gotta get them baby wipes,’ will.i.am said. Actor Terrence Howard went as far as to say in an Elle Magazine interview that he didn’t trust women who used toilet paper. ‘If they’re using dry paper, they aren’t washing all of themselves. It’s just unclean. So if I go in a woman’s house and see the toilet paper there, I’ll explain this,’ Howard said.
Actor and director Will Smith echoed a similar appreciation for baby wipes during a BBC 1 Radio interview.
‘I’m the type of person that it’s important for me to share. When I experience something that’s special and incredible, I like to share it with people. Anyone who’s using dry toilet paper, you’re really not doing yourself the true service,’ Smith said.
Gwyneth Paltrow, on the other hand, goes for a more expensive option in terms of sanitation. She released her Goop gift ideas in 2015 and one of them was a recommendation for toilet paper worth $100. But if that toilet paper cleaned better than the store brand kind remains unknown.
Cleanliness is not the only reason why people should consider bidets or baby wipes instead. Aggressive wiping has been known to cause health problems such as anal fissures and hemorrhoids.
An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the rectum and can cause bleeding or pain for the person when they are pooping. Most fissures heal at home after eight to 12 weeks, but it is important to be careful when wiping because it can irritate the area. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins and tissue in the lower rectum and anus. They are more serious than fissures and sometimes can be harder to treat. External hemorrhoids happen around the rim and are the ones that are typically irritated from excessive wiping, but they can be treated with cream or medication.
Also, bidets can prevent people from developing a urinary tract infection. If people wipe from back-to-front, they are pulling bacteria from the anus towards the front of the body. This can impact women especially and cause them to develop at UTI from the bacteria getting into the urethra. By using a bidet or wet wipe instead, it kills the bacteria and prevents it from infecting the urinary tract.