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Can A Toothbrush Used During Illness Make You Sick Again?

| Filed under: HealthWellnessHygiene

Colgate tooth brush

If you've bought a Colgate tooth brush lately, you may have noticed a sticker reading "Got A Cold? Change your toothbrush."

The company's website warns:

"germs can hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to reinfection."

Similarly, a competing brand Arm & Hammer offers the same warning and recommends:

"anytime you've had a cold or have been ill since germs may be lurking among the bristles."

However, are these companies looking out for consumer's safety or the company's profits?

The answer isn't quite that simple.

A person will not re-catch cold germs from a toothbrush, unless it is someone else's toothbrush or someone else's cold germs.

Once our bodies have been infected with a particular strain of virus, they develop antibodies to protect us from that virus and make the chances of contracting the same illness twice very low.

On the flip side, it is possible to re-infect yourself with bacteria. For example, strep throat caused by a colony of steptococcal bacteria might remain on your toothbrush to re-infect.

So as a general rule of thumb, a case of a runny, stuffy, or sniffly nose probably will not require a new toothbrush, but after contracting something more serious such as a bacterial infection, it's not a bad idea to swap brushes.

Good to know, right?

[Image via AP Images.]

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