The chills, aches, sore throat and general malaise of a cold or flu can make you feel too miserable to think of much beyond how to manage your symptoms. But it may help to know that your toothbrush can harbor germs or mold and replacing it may help you on the road to recovery or prevent reinfection. Here’s what to do with your toothbrush after being sick.
What Can Hide in Your Toothbrush?
Your toothbrush may look clean and normal upon examination, but toothbrushes often stay moist long after use, depending on how they are stored, and can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. So it’s important to replace your toothbrush regularly anyway, but especially during or after a bout with a contagious illness.
When you’re sick, your body does develop antibodies to the bacteria or virus that’s causing the illness or infection, but how long antibodies last and how much your body was able to produce can depend on the person and the current health of their immune system, so there is always the chance of reinfection. Plus, if there’s a possibility of sharing food or drink with someone, you don’t want to be repeatedly reintroducing the same germs over and over again into your mouth and potentially infect somebody else.
Mold can also become an issue if your toothbrush cannot dry out completely between uses. Mold can cause a number of symptoms that may mimic the cold or flu, such as sore throat, cough, brain fog, general malaise and a wide myriad of symptoms. What to do with your toothbrush after being sick can apply even if you’re unsure if it’s necessary, so it doesn’t hurt to try replacing it just to see if it’s been contributing to your illness. Helping you to get well and stay well is the goal!
How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush Normally?
Dentists generally recommend replacing a toothbrush every 3-4 months, but your dentist may recommend that you replace it more often if you have a compromised immune system or other health issues that may make you more at risk for being affected by bacteria or mold. What to do with your toothbrush after being sick is an important question to consider, but there are other factors to consider in how often you replace your toothbrush even when you are not sick.
Talk to Your Dentist About Your Toothbrush
At your next dental appointment, it’s a great idea to chat with your dentist about your toothbrush. Your dentist is your best resource for information on how to store your toothbrush, when to replace it depending on your specific circumstances and even what kind is best to purchase for your oral care needs. Whatever question you have relating to dental care is always a great question to bring up to your dentist, because chances are they’ve heard it before and have the answer, and their job is to help you take the best possible care of your teeth and mouth.
Call our Scottsdale Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.