If you’ve been sick, you’ve probably taken good care to make sure you eat well, drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest…but have you given any thought to changing out your toothbrush? Our toothbrushes are something that we (hopefully) use multiple times each day, every day of the week. While some people are careful not to kiss or drink after a loved one who is sick, they may be negligent in throwing out old, infected toothbrushes.
Regular brushing is vital to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but toothbrush bristles can harbor viruses and bacteria that are transmitted to the brush from our mouths when we are sick. By switching to a new toothbrush, potentially pathogenic microorganisms can be prevented from re-infecting the host that is making you sick all over again. A classic example is a child that is being treated for strep throat. Most likely, your medical provider will remind you to throw the old toothbrush away after one day of antibiotics have been administered. By that point, the sick person has bacterial levels back under control, so you want to avoid re-introducing active bacteria that might be found on their toothbrush.
Throw the toothbrush away and begin using a brand new brush. Some people like to purchase affordable toothbrushes that allow them to go through 2 or 3 during an illness, just to be safe. Others may soak their brush in a glass of water with a tablespoon of bleach overnight, or running it through the dishwasher. Always be sure to go back to your regular, high quality brush once the illness is gone, to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and you healthy too.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center
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