Blog Post

How to Protect Your Toothbrush from Bacteria During Flu Season
Posted on 12/18/2015

How to Protect Your Toothbrush from Bacteria During Flu Season

Dr. Allen K. Hirai and his staff at our Honolulu, HI pediatric dentistry practice want all our patients to be healthy and happy! Now that fall is here, the flu season is approaching whether we like it or not. But by taking every day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs like avoiding close contact with sick people and washing hands frequently, catching the flu can be avoided.

Many people do not realize that toothbrushes are a fertile breeding ground for many viruses and bacteria including the bacteria that causes the common cold and flu. Our mouths are teeming with bacteria, which is one reason why we brush our teeth each day. But while some germs on our toothbrush are washed down the drain after brushing, there is always bacteria left behind on the brush. Here are some tips on how to protect your toothbrush from bacteria during the flu season.

  • Whenever your hands are near your mouth, they can transfer bacteria. Making sure your hands are clean before and after brushing can lower the risk of introducing new bacteria to your mouth.

  • Adults should replace their toothbrushes every three months or when the bristles are frayed or worn. Kids need to replace their toothbrushes more often because they tend to brush more rigorously than adults.

  • Do not cover your toothbrush or put it into a closed container while it is wet as this encourages the growth of microorganisms.

  • Do not store more than one toothbrush in a toothbrush holder or cup. When toothbrushes are in close proximity with one another, cross-contamination can occur to spread illnesses like the flu.

  • Don't share toothpaste. Another way to avoid cross-contamination of germs is to give each member of the family their own tube of toothpaste.

  • Always rinse your toothbrush well under running water after each use to remove toothpaste and debris. Then store your toothbrush in an upright position to air-dry.

  • Do not use the same cup other people use to rinse their mouths after brushing. A good idea is to have paper cups available in the bathroom so each member of the family has a clean cup to use for rinsing after brushing.

It's important for parents and caregivers to teach kids good oral care habits. Remember that your children mimic what you do, so be sure to always set a good example! The team at Pediatric Dentistry Kahala is always available to speak to you. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today.