Flu season is nothing new in America. As one of the most prevalent illnesses in the country, millions of residents suffer from symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, and headaches every year. As the flu is highly contagious, it is important to limit the spread of the virus by implementing safety precautions like frequent hand-washing and sanitizing of your home. It also means discarding certain personal care items, such as your toothbrush.
Why Get a New Toothbrush?
You’ve probably heard your dentist say to swap out your toothbrush every three months, but a toothbrush can act as a breeding ground for bacteria, germs, and fungi faster if you’re ill. For this same reason, you want to avoid keeping your toothbrush stored in a drawer or other area where it could potentially touch someone else’s toothbrush. The ideal storage spot is a standard toothbrush holder with slots that allow it to dry undisturbed.
There is a common misconception when it comes to swapping out your toothbrush after the flu. Most people believe that using the same toothbrush after an illness can cause them to become re-infected and experience the illness again. This is not true. When you are exposed to an illness like the flu, your body creates antibodies that fight off the illness, making it highly unlikely that you’ll get the same strain of the flu again. This means that even if your toothbrush is contaminated, it will not give you the flu again.
However, this doesn’t mean your toothbrush can’t make you sick with some other type of illness. When you get sick with the flu, your body becomes susceptible to all types of viruses and bacteria. If you continue to brush your teeth like normal, bacteria can spread from your mouth to the bristles. While you might not get the flu again, brushing your teeth with a contaminated toothbrush could cause a new illness to develop. To be on the safe side, it’s always a good idea to swap out your toothbrush after an illness.
Top Toothbrush Safety Tips
Most dentists agree that in addition to replacing your toothbrush every three months, there may be occasions to toss it sooner. This includes when the bristles appear to be fraying or if your toothbrush seems to be less effective at removing plaque from the teeth and gums than it was before.
Over time, the bristles of a toothbrush can begin to wear down and lose its shape and stability. When this happens, simply replace it with a new toothbrush that will do a better job of keeping your teeth clean. There are also some other important safety tips to follow to prevent the spread of germs. These include:
- Never Share Your Toothbrush: Even if it’s a family member or best friend, you should never share your toothbrush. Sharing a toothbrush can spread serious viruses or infections like the flu, bacterial infections, and blood-borne diseases.
- Wash Your Hands Before And After Brushing: Use soap and warm water to wash your hands before and after brushing to prevent spreading bacteria to the toothpaste tube and other surfaces.
- Rinse Your Toothbrush After Brushing: Once you are finished brushing, always rinse your toothbrush with warm water and store it upright to air-dry. Avoid storing your toothbrush in a closed container which can contribute to the breeding of bacteria.
- Use A Completely Dry Toothbrush: Ideally, you should never use a still-wet toothbrush to brush your teeth. If your toothbrush takes a while to dry, consider having two available and alternate using them.
Visit a Dentist in Clermont FL
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene habits like swapping out your toothbrush after an illness, you’ll want to continue seeing your dentist in Clermont about every six months. Your dentist will help ensure that any plaque and debris that you might have missed during brushing is removed to help keep your mouth healthy and free of harmful bacteria. For more information or to schedule a dental cleaning at a Clermont family dentistry practice, contact the dental experts at Hancock Village Dental today.