Should you Throw your Toothbrush Away After Illness?

Toothbrush Orange and PurpleOh, the dreaded, stabbing pain of strep throat. Along with the flu, strep is one of the most horrific common illnesses. More rampant in winter months, you might wonder if you should throw away your toothbrush following a severe virus or bacterial infection such as strep. Germs do actually grow on toothbrush heads. However, if strep throat is your concern, your toothbrush may have immunity, as the Riverside dentists at Riverside Dental Group will explain.

Toothbrush Germs

One research study which focused on germ growth on toothbrushes was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) in Washington, DC. Similar research was done at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston. The trials were not designed to claim that toothbrushes don’t grow or harbor germs. However, when researchers focused on the bacteria that cause strep throat (A Streptococcus GSA) surprising results were found. Brand new toothbrushes handled in sterile conditions showed growth of many germs, including staphylococcus. But where were the strep germs?

Strep Toothbrush?

It would stand to reason that if A Streptococcus GSA was in your mouth and you brushed your teeth, some of the germs might remain on your toothbrush. The Texas study looked at one group of patients with strep throat and another group who had sore throats not caused by strep. Beyond their temporary throat issues, all of the participants were in otherwise good health. The volunteers were instructed to brush teeth for two minutes (the recommended time according to the American Dental Association). Toothbrushes were sealed and sent to an off-site lab where researchers searched the brushes for various germs. Only one toothbrush had A Streptococcus GSA present, and surprisingly, it was one of the volunteers who did not present with strep throat. Said Judith L. Rowen (associate professor of pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at UTMB) “This study supports that it is probably unnecessary to throw away your toothbrush after a diagnosis of strep throat.”

Dental Checkups from Riverside Dentists

If are in need of a dental checkup, contact your Riverside dentists for a consultation. We offer comprehensive dentistry to patients of all ages. Contact our 92506 dentist office at (951) 369-1001. We serve patients throughout Riverside County.