Don't let your toothbrush make you sick

Delta Dental of Ohio gives a not-so-obvious way to stay healthy this cold and flu season. Everyone knows the common ways to prevent yourself from spreading germs; wash your hands frequently, and cover your mouths and nose when you cough or sneeze. But who thinks about cleaning their toothbrush? Well that TMs exactly what Delta Dental suggests you do.

Dr. Jed Jacobson, chief science officer and senior vice president of Delta Dental of Ohio, offers a few tips for making sure your own toothbrush doesn TMt make you sick this winter.

  • You should replace your toothbrush every four months because toothbrushes wear out and don TMt clean as effectively once the bristles become worn down. But if you do get sick, be sure to replace your toothbrush right away.
  • Sterilize your toothbrush once per week. One minute in the microwave for a wet toothbrush or one run through the dishwasher will do the trick.
  • Store your toothbrush away from others and don TMt share toothpaste. Airborne bacteria can be shared between toothbrushes stored near each other in warm, moist environments like the bathroom. You also can avoid cross-contamination of germs by giving each member of the family their own tube of toothpaste and using an individual travel size container when someone is sick.
  • Wash your hands before and after brushing. Anytime the hands are near the mouth, they can transfer bacteria.