A brand new toothbrush sitting inside a light blue container beside the bathroom sink

Do You Need to Replace Your Toothbrush After an Illness?

Cold and flu season may be behind us but that doesn’t mean viruses and bacteria take summer holidays.

With cases of influenza on the rise each year in Alberta and across the country, there are some important things you need to know about this infection. The flu is a respiratory disease that affects the nose, throat and lungs and spreads through an air-borne virus. It can also be spread by touching objects that have come into close contact with an infected person. 

So, what is the protocol for dealing with everyday items such as your toothbrush? Should you replace your toothbrush after the flu or sickness?

Fortunately, after a viral infection, the body creates antibodies that help fight off infection and protect us from that particular virus strain. Therefore, re-exposure from everyday items won’t necessarily make you sick again. However, if other viruses or bacteria linger on your toothbrush, you may develop a new illness. That’s why it is a good idea to toss your old toothbrush after an illness in favour of a new one to keep you and those around you safe.

3 Toothbrush Safety Tips to Prevent the Spread of Germs 

Your toothbrush is a breeding ground for bacteria. Consider the following toothbrush safety tips to protect your overall health:

  • Replace Every 3-4 Months: Flu, strep and e-coli are just a few of the bacteria that live on a toothbrush. Even if you haven’t been ill recently, consider swapping out your old toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if you notice that the bristles are fraying. After three months, your toothbrush is less effective at removing plaque from teeth and gums.
  • Take Proper Storage Precautions: To minimize germ growth and keep yourself healthy, make sure to dry out your toothbrush in-between uses. After brushing your teeth, run the brush under your tap and shake it through the water. Store your toothbrush in an upright position until air-dry. Additionally, do not store your toothbrush in a closed container.
  • Don’t Share Your Toothbrush: Never share your toothbrush. By sharing a toothbrush, you risk catching and/or spreading serious infections like the flu, blood borne diseases and even bacterial infections. If you are sick, the same precautions should be taken with toothpaste. Use your own toothpaste tube as unclean fingers or a dirty brush can pass harmful microbes to the opening of the tube.
For those with a compromised or weakened immune system, you may want to change your brush even more often, especially after an illness. At Parkland Mall Dental Centre, we supply all our patients with a new toothbrush after every check-up and cleaning. Our fully trained and licensed staff are eager to serve you and your family with quality dental services and treatments in Red Deer and the surrounding area.

To book your next consultation, call Parkland Mall Dental Centre at 403-342-1118 or use our online contact form. We are currently accepting new patients, so please don’t hesitate to ask how we can help you.