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Generally, after being sick, the first reflex that we have is to clean our house, to purify its interior of the germs which can possibly persist on the surfaces. Should you also change your toothbrush, to avoid any risk of recontamination? Doctissimo takes stock.
You may have already asked yourself the question: should I change my toothbrush after being sick?
The toothbrush, a possible nest for viruses and bacteria
According to Dental College of Georgiain the United States, which has looked into the question, in the event of a pathology such as strep throat, oral herpes or even flu or colds, it is preferable to change your toothbrush once cured.
Indeed, viruses can survive a few hours to a few days in the open air and therefore on toothbrushes, so it is better to get rid of them, to avoid any risk of new contamination.
Not covering your toothbrush
To avoid contaminating their toothbrush, some people use a case or a cap to enclose it. However, it is quite the opposite that must be done. According to Dr. Harvey Karp, whose remarks are reported by our colleagues from Huffington Post, the majority of bacteria that live on your toothbrush die in the presence of oxygen. Once your toothbrush is dry, most bacteria are eradicated.
If you cover your toothbrush with a cap, its bacterial count may be higher than if left out in the open.
Be careful with other family members
It is important to be careful around other members of your family. “You can use the same toothbrush while you’re sick as long as you change it once you’re healthy.” explains Dr. Lauren Becker, general and aesthetic dentist. “However, be careful with the toothpaste tube, especially if you share a toothpaste tube with other members of the household. It may be better to use your own toothpaste to prevent germs from passing from the toothbrush to the tube of toothpaste.”
Instead of throwing it away, can you disinfect your toothbrush?
If your toothbrush is new and you just got sick, you’re not going to throw it away right away. You can then disinfect it with an antibacterial mouthwash or simply a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Toothbrushes with soft bristles are preferred for optimal cleaning.
And after each use, “run the brush under hot water and run your thumb along the bristles. Then rinse it off and let it air dry.” still recommends Dr. Lauren Becker. Be aware, however, that this will not replace the fact of changing your toothbrush, after three months of use, because of the wear of the latter. A recommendation which obviously applies to electric toothbrushes, which must be replaced after the same period of time.