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Find Out When to Toss Your Toothbrush Thanks To 1-800-DENTIST.

Regular brushing is vital for oral health and avoiding dental problems. A toothbrush is the must-have tool for the job. Choosing a toothbrush is a personal experience based on preferences such as color, manual versus electric toothbrushes, choosing designs specifically created for brushing orthodontics or dentures. Once a toothbrush is selected the device must be used properly and treated as a disposable item as wear and tear will make the tool ineffective.

1-800-DENTIST suggests replacing toothbrushes every three to four months to achieve optimal results as "Brushing your teeth with an old toothbrush is like washing with a dirty rag -- it's neither effective nor hygienic." Other resources say replacement times may be higher especially if a person uses their brush when sick. However, there are some myths surrounding what illnesses may force the hand in regards to replacing a tooth brush, here is the truth needed to clarify the situation.

Toothbrushes Used During a Cold Cannot Reinfect

The common cold is not life threatening, however since there are millions of virus germs that can cause the condition, colds are virtually impossible to avoid. Rhinoviruses are the most common virus infecting the upper respiratory system. Once infected, a person will experience symptoms including dry mouth, coughs, sore throats, runny nose, stuffed noses, sneezing, fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and bad breath.

Colds are the most infectious disease humans pass to each other and it is not uncommon for individuals to suffer from two to four colds annually. Colds can last from about seven to ten days and make the sufferer feel horribly, but a person's immune system will eventually kick into high gear and win the battle. When suffering from a cold, individuals are encouraged to conduct their daily hygiene of brushing and flossing regularly in order to stave off any dental problems down the line. Dental floss should be thrown away after each use and toothbrushes can be used well after a cold has dissipated without fear of reinfection.

No two cold viruses are identical and the human body naturally develops the right antibody needed to fight each specific variant. Once that antibody is present the chance of re-infection of that particular cold is minimal. While it is possible for the cold virus to live on a toothbrush for several hours to several days, the viral level will be minuscule and the level of antibodies will mitigate the changes of reinfection. Individuals should feel free to use their own toothbrushes for the full three to four month lifespan without fear of reinfection.


Strep Throat Sufferers Should Replace Toothbrushes

Sore throats are not created equally and while Joe may simply have irritation due to a cold, John may have the symptom due to the bacterial infection of strep throat. Whether it is called streptococcal pharyngitis, streptococcal tonsillitis, or streptococcal sore throat, strep throat is triggered by a bacterial infection, which the human body typically cannot fight on its own. Instead, a dose of antibiotics from a doctor may be the only way to fight the infection and once that medicine is in the system, replacing a toothbrush is vital to protecting from reinfection.

The streptococcus bacteria are strong and can survive on a toothbrush long after penicillin or antibiotics have been prescribed and the ailment has been treated. Combined with the otherwise smart choice of toothpaste, an afflicted toothbrush may cause reinfection. Some toothpastes includes antibacterial agents in order to help control the levels of oral bacterium and stave off conditions such as cavities and gum disease. However, it may also squash the newly empowered bacteria from doing its duty of conquering the strep.

Toothbrush Tips for Health

There is no arguing that the relationship people have with their toothbrush is intimate. That is why following some best behaviors in regards to the device is essential for ensuring the device is a tool for health, not destruction. Some toothbrush tips for overall health include:

  • Replace toothbrushes after starting a course of medication for a bacterial infection of any nature.
  • Regardless of health, toothbrushes should be replaced at least every four months for optimal results.
  • Every family member should have their own toothbrush to prevent any cross contamination of any type of illness.
  • Each toothbrush should be stored separately as if toothbrush heads touch, it is possible for cold and illness causing germs from person to person through that contact.
  • Keep toothbrushes far away from toilets as flushing can disperse water containing fecal matter and other particles that should be kept far away from mouths.
  • Wash hands before handling a toothbrush.
  • Let toothbrushes dry out in the open air as covers and cabinets can prompt organism growth.

Thoroughly wash a toothbrush before and after every use.

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