Should You Change Your Toothbrush After Having a Cold or Flu?

Closeup of a box of tissues, a used tissue, glasses, and a mug because someone is sick with a cold or flu

It’s a common practice to replace a toothbrush after being sick. The reasoning behind this is that you might reinfect yourself with the leftover germs on your brush. But is this necessary?

Can I Get Sick From My Toothbrush?

If you had a terrible infection, cold, or flu, you may be scared of getting the same illness again if you brush with the same toothbrush you used during the time you were sick. But typically, our immune system protects us from getting the same illness we’ve already had. That’s because our immune system produces antibodies, which fight off the germs that enter our body. When germs that we’ve already been exposed to re-enter the body, a strong immune system will fight them off. This means that the body is less likely to be reinfected with the same virus or the same bacteria twice in a short span of time. However, it is possible your immune system isn’t strong enough to prevent the illness again or that there are different germs lingering in your toothbrush that could make you sick.

When Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

After you’ve recovered from being sick, it’s best to start off with a new toothbrush that is clean and fresh, just to be safe, especially if you know you have a weakened immune system. If you are healthy, change your toothbrush every three to four months, or earlier if the bristles look worn or frayed. Additionally, toss out a brush that has an unusual odor or color, or if it was used by someone else.

How Should I Care for My Toothbrush?

Do not share your toothbrush with anyone else because sharing allows germs to spread. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with water, shake it out, and allow it to dry completely by storing it in the upright position. If you’re nervous about lingering germs in the bristles, rinse it with an antibacterial mouthwash. Moreover, do not store your toothbrush with a cover, as this will encourage bacterial growth.

Take Care of Your Health!

To help protect yourself from sickness this season, remember to:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Floss every day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get your blood pumping with appropriate exercise
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
  • Get plenty of sleep

If you have any additional questions about your oral health or how to have superb dental hygiene, contact our Long Island City dental office. We look forward to hearing from you!

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