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Should You Replace Your Toothbrush After Being Sick?

As the colder weather sets in and holiday gatherings bring people together, the chances of catching and spreading viruses increase. Taking care of yourself when you’re sick involves various measures, including maintaining oral hygiene. But what should you do with that germ-filled toothbrush to prevent getting sick again or spreading illness within your household?


When To Change Your Toothbrush After Covid, The Flu Or Strep Throat

Common cold, bacterial infections like strep throat and flu viruses can linger on surfaces for days or even a week after you’ve been sick. Covid, in particular, has been shown to persist on certain surfaces like a toothbrush for weeks. This is due to the toothbrush’s proximity to the main airways, where virus-laden droplets can linger and spread.

While it’s recommended to change your toothbrush every three months anyway, you should always change your toothbrush or toothbrush head after recovering from COVID-19, Strep, the Flu, or any other viral infection.

To minimize the risk of reinfection, it’s advisable to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head after recovering from a viral infection. This is especially crucial for serious viral illnesses like COVID-19, where the virus can persist on surfaces for an extended period. For more infections that require antibiotics, you should throw away your toothbrush no more than 2 to 3 days after you finish the regimen.

For Covid, it’s recommended to throw away your toothbrush after 10 days if you test negative. If you continue to test positive, then you should wait to throw out your toothbrush until you’ve tested negative twice in 24 hours.

What To Do If Someone Else In Your Household Is Sick

Most family members and partners will share a toothbrush holder if they have to share a bathroom. It’s a good idea to separate or cover your toothbrushes when someone else gets sick, but what should you do after they’ve recovered? The safest option would be to throw away your toothbrush, regardless of if you get sick too. You never know what germs linger in the moist environment of your bathroom.

If your toothbrush has been separated from your family member or partner and you have not developed an infection or illness, then you could hold on to it. It might take a few days to come to this conclusion, which is why it’s better to throw out your current toothbrush instead of potentially an illness when you brush your teeth.

Regardless of what you decide to do, it’s always important to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush and wash your hands with warm water and soap before putting your toothbrush near your mouth.

Disinfecting Your Toothbrush: Is It Effective?

While cleaning surfaces is recommended to eliminate viruses, it’s not feasible or safe to use cleaning supplies on your toothbrush. The substances needed to eradicate viruses on surfaces can be harmful when applied to a toothbrush. The most effective solution is to discard the brush or brush head and start afresh once you’ve recovered.

Fungal Infections and Oral Thrush

Replacing the toothbrush is vital for individuals using antifungals to combat oral thrush or other fungal infections. Bacterial infections may follow severe viral illnesses, especially for vulnerable groups like the young, elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems. You should replace your toothbrush after you finish your antifungal medication.

Schedule Your Year-End Dental Checkup

As the end of the year approaches, it’s a perfect time to schedule your last dental checkup before dental benefits restart in 2024. Reilly & Siegel Family Dental is here to ensure your family’s oral health, providing expert care and guidance. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and start the new year with a healthy smile.

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