People with gum problems or weakened immune systems should change their toothbrush every 6 weeks.
Toothbrush replacement should be practiced every few days for patients who are recovering from major surgery because susceptibility to infection is higher at that time.
Bacterial infection can be re-infected with a toothbrush. If you had strep throat, for example, a colony of streptococcal bacteria might end up on your toothbrush and remain there long enough to give you a second case after you’d taken a course of antibiotics.
Once you’ve been infected with a particular strain of a virus, your body develops antibodies that make the likelihood of re-infection very low. The flu and common cold are viral infections. Those antibodies should keep you from contracting the same illness twice. I still recommend changing your toothbrush to be on the safe side.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following steps for toothbrush care:
• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after brushing or flossing.
• After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with warm water and store it upright to air-dry.
• Don’t cover your toothbrush or place it in a closed container until it is completely dry. A moist environment can foster bacterial growth.
• Use a completely dry toothbrush. Everyone should have two toothbrushes to give ample time (24 hours) for it to dry out in between uses.
• Don’t share a toothbrush with anyone. Also, don’t store toothbrushes in a way that might cause them to touch and spread germs.
• Replace your toothbrush every three or four months. Toothbrushes wear out and become less effective at cleaning teeth.
• Always replace your toothbrush after a cold or other illness to prevent contamination.
• If you or someone else in your family is sick, that person should use a different tube of toothpaste (travel size, for example), to prevent spreading germs to other toothbrushes.
I hope these tips are helpful. Feel free to call at 301-885-2505 or ask us on Facebook if you have any questions. I am also happy to answer any questions if you send an email to me at Doc@SilbermanDental.com.