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Is It Necessary to Buy a Toothbrush After Being Sick?

November 2, 2022


According to the best dentist in Miami, it's essential to change your toothbrush after being sick. The justification for this is that you run the risk of reinfecting yourself with the bacteria still on your brush. But is it really necessary?

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Guide to Changing Your Toothbrush  

When Do You Need to Change Your Toothbrush?

It's better to start with a new and clean toothbrush once you've recovered from an illness just to be safe. Such practice is important if you have a compromised immune system. However, if you weren’t sick, you can replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are worn or frayed. Throw away any toothbrush that smell strange, are an odd hue, or appear to have been used previously.

If you have a compromised immune system or you have gum disease, you need to replace your toothbrush every six weeks. Your toothbrush can reinfect you if you already have a bacterial illness.  

But if you just underwent a major surgery, dentists will tell advise that you replace your toothbrush every few days. The reason for this is that the surgical site becomes more susceptible to infection when you’re still in the recovery stage.  

For instance, after taking lozenges or other medications for strep throat, a colony of streptococcal bacteria can wind up on your toothbrush and survive there long enough to cause you a second episode. After a viral infection, your body produces antibodies that greatly reduce the possibility of reinfection. However, we still advise switching out your toothbrush just to be sure.

Can I Get Sick When I Use My Old Toothbrush?

If you experienced a severe infection, cold, or flu, you may be worried that using the same toothbrush while you were unwell will cause you to contract the sickness again. However, our immune system guards against contracting the same sickness twice. This is due to the fact that our immune system creates antibodies to fight off external infections.  

An effective immune system will repel previously exposed bacteria when they re-enter the body. This indicates that the body has a lower risk of contracting the same virus or bacterial infection twice in a short period of time.  

It is possible, though, that your immune system isn't strong enough to keep you from getting sick again or that other germs are still present in your toothbrush and could infect you.

Toothbrush Care Tips  

Don't let anyone else use your toothbrush because doing so encourages the transmission of germs. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush under water, shake it out, then store it upright to allow it to completely dry.  

You can use an antibiotic mouthwash to rinse the bristles if you're concerned about any remaining bacteria. Additionally, avoid covering your toothbrush when storing it because this promotes bacterial growth.

Other toothbrush advice you need to be aware of:  

  • Use a toothbrush that is entirely dry.  
  • Don't let your toothbrush come in contact with anyone else's.  
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months, as soon as the bristles start to deteriorate, or following an illness.  
  • Use a different tube of toothpaste from your family if you are sick (the same goes for them). This can stop bacteria from spreading to other toothbrushes.
  • When brushing or flossing, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and has an ADA Seal of Acceptance.  
Best dentist in Miami holding an apple and toothbrush

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