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Should You Change Your Toothbrush After Being Sick?

As fall approaches and temperatures drop, people find themselves spending more time indoors, whether for school, work, or other activities. Unfortunately, indoor gatherings can lead to the spread of Covid, strep throat, RSV, and flu viruses.

In such times, maintaining proper hygiene practices is essential, including knowing when to change your toothbrush. At Naperville Commons Dental, we’re here to provide you with guidance on keeping your oral health in check, especially after recovering from an illness.

Old dirty and unhygienic toothbrush

When Should I Replace My Toothbrush After Illness?

Replacing your toothbrush after an illness is a proactive step in preventing the risk of reinfection. Once you’re feeling better, it’s recommended to replace your toothbrush. Germs from the illness can linger on the bristles, posing a potential risk of reintroducing those germs into your system.

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Toothbrush After Being Sick?

Failing to change your toothbrush after being sick could expose you to the same germs that caused your illness. Germs can survive on toothbrush bristles, increasing the likelihood of reinfection. Changing your toothbrush is a simple yet effective measure to minimize this risk.

Should I Use the Same Toothbrush After Being Sick?

Using the same toothbrush after being sick is not advisable. Even if you’ve recovered, the germs from the illness could still be present on the bristles. Opting for a fresh toothbrush helps ensure that you’re not reintroducing harmful bacteria into your mouth.

If you’re not looking to replace your toothbrush after being sick, then it’s best to follow the American Dental Association guidelines for replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Covering your toothbrush when it’s inhabiting the same area as a sick member of your household’s toothbrush is also a good idea. When in doubt, you can always throw away your toothbrush or replace the head of it (if it’s an electric toothbrush).

How Do You Disinfect a Toothbrush After Being Sick?

Disinfecting your toothbrush after being sick is a good practice to consider. Here are some tips we recommend:

Rinse: Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with tap water to remove any debris or residual toothpaste.

Soak: Soak the toothbrush head in an antimicrobial mouthwash or a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes.

Rinse Again: After soaking, rinse the toothbrush thoroughly under running water to remove any leftover disinfecting solution.

Air Dry: Place the toothbrush in an upright position to air dry. Avoid covering the bristles, as this can encourage bacterial growth.

Should You Change Out or Clean Your Toothpaste Bottle After Being Sick?

While changing your toothbrush is a common practice after being sick, you might wonder about other oral care items. Toothpaste bottles can become contaminated if they come into contact with your toothbrush while you’re sick.

While there’s no need to change the entire toothpaste bottle, it’s a good idea to clean the nozzle or opening that comes into contact with your toothbrush. Simply wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe that is nontoxic or rinse it with warm water to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Using a Water Pick or Shared Toothbrush Cup with Household Members

Using a water pick or a shared toothbrush cup with household members can pose a risk of spreading germs, especially after someone has been sick. It’s advisable to clean and disinfect these items after illness to minimize the potential for cross-contamination.

Clean the water pick according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring that all parts that come into contact with your mouth are properly disinfected. As for shared toothbrush cups, wash them thoroughly with warm water and soap, and consider using disposable cups for a period after someone has been ill.

Prioritize Your Oral Health with Naperville Commons Dental

While taking steps to prevent reinfection is essential, regular dental check-ups are equally crucial. At Naperville Commons Dental, we’re dedicated to providing you with comprehensive dental care that supports your overall well-being. Schedule your dental check-up with us to ensure your oral health remains optimal.

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