DEAR ABBY: I have shared a friendship for 40 years with a woman who is known for having a quick temper. Although I have been on the receiving end of her anger many times, we manage to maintain our relationship. 

She lives across the country now and, unfortunately, suffers from a major debilitating illness. She lives with a man she argues with often, in his small apartment. They struggle financially, and she recently confided that when they argue, she dunks his toothbrush in the toilet to get even. Obviously, it is without his knowledge. 

I have never met him, but he is very nice to me when I call. I want to tell him what my friend has been doing. I feel he needs to know the health risks he’s facing when he brushes his teeth. 

Of course, if I do, I know I’ll incur her wrath once again as she’ll know I ratted her out. And he will undoubtedly evict her from the apartment. She doesn’t have the finances to get her own place, and the eviction may result in her becoming homeless. I’m struggling with which is worse: his health risk or her homelessness. 

So far, I have kept my mouth shut, but each day I know he is brushing his teeth with bacteria. Should I continue to remain silent? – YUCK FACTOR IN THE DESERT

DEAR YUCK FACTOR: While dipping his toothbrush in the toilet may not kill him, it could make him sick. Tell him what has been going on. If your friendship with the woman ends, so be it.

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