man looking at toothbrush wondering if it's time to replace it

Should Your Toothbrush Be Replaced After You Get Sick?

Did you know most dentists recommend you replace your toothbrush every three to four months?

The bristles on your toothbrush become less effective over time, and the longer a toothbrush is used, the more likely it is that bacteria and viruses will build up on it. At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, we also recommend replacing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick to avoid exposing yourself, or other people in your home, to germs. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant about the spread of infections.


Why your toothbrush should be replaced after you’ve been sick

If you brushed your teeth while you were sick, the virus or bacteria that caused the illness can stay on your toothbrush for up to several days.

The good news is you generally can’t get the same illness twice. Once you’re exposed to a harmful strain of bacteria or virus, you develop antibodies to help you fight off infection. The bad news is these germs could spread to someone else in your household, especially if you share a toothpaste tube or toothbrush holder. And if you’re immunocompromised (for instance, if you have an auto-immune disease or are undergoing cancer treatment), your immune system may not be able to produce the antibodies you need to keep from becoming infected again.

Even if you can’t get the same cold or flu again, all kinds of dangerous pathogens can live on toothbrushes. If you’re still recovering from an illness, your immune system may be weakened, making you more vulnerable to new diseases. It’s always safer to just replace your toothbrush, especially now that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through many households and communities.


3 Steps for Proper Toothbrush Cleaning & Storage

To limit your toothbrush’s exposure to germs, follow these tips for proper cleaning and storage:

1. Rinse your toothbrush. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with warm water and stand it upright to dry.

2. Let your toothbrush air-dry. Most bacteria on toothbrushes are anaerobic, meaning that they die upon exposure to oxygen. Avoid keeping your toothbrush in a cover or closed container to allow it to dry completely.

3. Watch out for cross-contamination. If you get sick, avoid sharing a toothpaste tube or toothbrush holder with family members to limit the risk of spreading germs from one toothbrush to another.

 

Schedule Your Next Family Dentist Appointment In SE Calgary

Family Lawn Dental Centre is committed to keeping our clients safe during the COVID-19 health crisis. We’ve adopted strict sanitization protocols so we can continue to safely care for our patients. To make an appointment with a family dentist in SE Calgary, contact us today.

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