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.