When you or your child have strep throat, there are a few things that you should do. Getting to the doctor for a confirmation and antibiotics is the first thing you should be worrying about.
Avoiding contact with others so they don't get sick is another. Many people think it is also important to do something with your toothbrush. They are not necessarily right.
Why Focus on the Toothbrush
The most common fear when using the same toothbrush used before strep throat is reinfection. Since you used that toothbrush in the same area as the strep throat infection, it seems to make sense that the bacteria that cause strep throat are on the toothbrush. When you dispose of the toothbrush, you dispose of the bacteria that cause strep.
Getting rid of a toothbrush is not a big deal to most people. It is inexpensive, and it is also something to replace every six months anyway. The question is, do you really have to get rid of it.
Cleaning Instead of Trashing
If you do decide to trash the toothbrush after strep, you have to find the right time. Get rid of it too early and the new toothbrush could carry the bacteria. Wait too long and you could risk reinfection. It is best to wait a few days after starting the antibiotics before replacing the toothbrush but do replace it before finishing the antibiotics.
The same timeline works for cleaning the toothbrush. There are several ways to do this.
Soak in antibacterial mouthwash
Boil for 3 minutes
Sanitize in the dishwasher
Use a UV toothbrush sanitizer.
All of these can take the place of throwing the toothbrush away. Some research shows that a person is unlikely to get a reinfection of strep throat from their toothbrush. The research is not complete, but it also shows that cleaning the toothbrush is as effective as buying a new one.
Because of that and the low price of toothbrushes, the decision is on the person or the parent to decide which is easiest and best for them.
If you want more information about how to avoid strep throat reinfection or for more information about how to use and what type of toothbrush to use, contact the professionals at our office.
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