Photo Credit: eszter.
My boyfriend was recently sick and as he was recovering, he asked, “Do we have a new toothbrush?”
I furrowed my brow because I was fairly certain we had just replaced our toothbrushes a few weeks ago.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because my old toothbrush has germs on it from being sick!” he replied.
Oh, dear. I assured him that was certainly not the case, and since I wouldn’t tell him where the new toothbrushes were, the subject was dropped. Well, last week I came across an article that showed I was right!
While advertising from toothbrush manufacturers may claim you should switch toothbrushes when you have a cold (A sticker on Colgate toothbrush packages warns consumers: “Got A Cold? Change your toothbrush.” Competitor Arm & Hammer offers the same warning that toothbrushes should be replaced “anytime you’ve had a cold or have been ill since germs may be lurking among the bristles.“), you cannot re-catch a cold from a toothbrush.
No, unless you’re sharing someone else’s toothbrush (ew), your cold germs won’t be lingering on your toothbrush, reports the Huffington Post.
“Once you’ve been infected with a particular strain of a virus, you develop antibodies that make the likelihood of re-infection very low. Even if the virus were still hanging out on your toothbrush after you recovered — colds and flus can survive there in an infective state for anywhere from a few hours to three days — those antibodies should keep you from contracting the same illness twice. Your toothbrush is no more dangerous while you’re still sick, since the viral load on the bristles is negligible compared with what’s already in your system.”
Now, this only applies to the common cold. If you have something like strep throat, definitely change up your toothbrush because bacteria can and will linger, although toothpaste may kill it.
The American Dental Association also recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, once the bristles are frayed and worn, but not in the aftermath of every cold.
So, there you have it. Are you replacing your toothbrush too much or too little?