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.”
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.[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/CPh83CrtmZa/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading[/instagram]
“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.