Why You Must Change Your Toothbrush After Recovering from Covid-19

You stand a high chance of reinfection if you do not discard it

If you have recovered from Covid-19 recently, you need to throw away your old toothbrush first. You must be wondering why a toothbrush is so important in the scheme of things, when there are other important things like diet to focus on. Well, dentists are of the opinion that if a recently recovered person continues to use the same tooth brush, the chances of reinfection are quite high. There’s also a chance of your family members getting the infection if you put your toothbrush in a common area accessible to them as well.   

Dr Riddhi Katara, dentist and founder of Experteeth Dental Care, Mumbai, says, "If you or anyone in your family has contracted Covid-19, post recovery, please make sure to change your toothbrush, tongue cleaner, etc. These can harbour the virus, and it is best that they are discarded.”

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She further explains that she usually recommends the same to people infected with seasonal flu, cough and cold. "We are advising the same to Covid-19 patients too. You should change your toothbrush and tongue cleaner after 20 days of getting the first symptoms," she adds. Bacteria/virus build up over time on the surface of the toothbrush and they are known to cause upper respiratory tract infections. 

"As a prevention, we prescribe using mouthwash and betadine gargle that helps in reducing build-up of virus/bacteria in the mouth. If a mouthwash is not available, rinsing the mouth with warm saline (warm water + salt) water also works. Apart from this, one must maintain oral hygiene and brush twice a day,”says Dr Riddhi. 

How COVID-19 can spread via toothbrush?

COVID-19 is known to spread through droplets released when a person coughs, sneezes, shouts, talks and laughs. The coronavirus is also airborne meaning that once released from an infected person it can stay in the air for a while and be transmitted to other people. 

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“COVID-19 can spread through toothbrush and tongue cleaners as these items belonging to an infected person are likely to have a significantly high concentration of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Hence continued use of these items can lead to re-infection or fresh COVID-19 infection in others,” explains Dr Riddhi.

While the anti-COVID-19 vaccines are effective as a preventive measure against the virus, experts believe that the jabs can't guarantee 100 per cent protection from the coronavirus in all situations. Hence, taking precautions are extremely important.