You may want to sit down before you hear this: Your toothbrush could have as many as 100 million bacteria on it. While that’s certainly cause for pause, it should be mentioned that millions of bacteria can be found in the average mouth as well! Sure, the numbers are a bit shocking, but the most important variable is actually quality, not quantity. Since toothbrushes are stored in the bathroom, it’s not uncommon to find both E. Coli and Staph among the hundreds of different types of germs on a toothbrush.
Thankfully, these generally aren’t plentiful enough to cause health problems. However, there are a few bugs on your brush that can wreak havoc on your household, not only once, but twice – cold and flu germs. In this blog, your dentist in Tulsa will explain why changing your brush after being sick is so important and tips on how to keep it cleaner overall.
How Does a Clean Toothbrush Keep You Healthier?
For good oral health, it’s recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. However, you should also replace it as soon as you’ve recovered from being sick.
When you’re fighting off the flu, your mouth is a breeding ground for the virus that got you sick in the first place. So, each time you brush your teeth you’re coating your toothbrush bristles with those same germs.
Although the chances of re-infecting yourself are low unless you have a condition that weakens your immune system, you may be extra susceptible to coming down with something new due to the all the other types of germs on your brush.
In addition, you could spread the flu to another member of your family if toothbrushes are stored together and there’s any contact between them. Changing your toothbrush can help keep your family healthier by reducing the spread of germs – much the same way that washing your hands will.
How Can You Keep Your Toothbrush Clean?
Even when you aren’t sick it’s still important to keep your toothbrush clean! Here are some tips from your family dentist in Tulsa on how to do just that:
- Though it may seem counter-intuitive, don’t use a toothbrush cover. It actually traps moisture and bacteria and prevents the air from effectively drying the bristles.
- Store your brush upright instead of on its side. This will allow any moisture to drain away from the toothbrush head, helping the bristles dry faster.
- Lastly, if possible, store your toothbrush away from the toilet. Each time it’s flushed all the germs from the toilet are sent into the air where they can settle on any surface, including your toothbrush!
About the Author
Dr. Angie Nauman is not only a general dentist but also a mother of five, so she knows how easily cold and flu bugs can be spread to everyone in the house! In addition to educating her patients about taking care of their oral health, she enjoys being able to help them stay healthy overall as well. She can be contacted for questions via her website or at (918) 254-8686.