COVID-19: Healthy Toothbrush and Toothpaste Tips

COVID 19 and Your Toothbrush

Don't store your toothbrush in the same container as your family

With COVID rapidly spreading throughout the United States and the world, we are all looking for methods to decrease the infectiousness. Some of the methods we use are when we are in public spaces, and some are in the privacy of our homes.

You may not think about viral spread related to tooth brushing, but some simple methods can help restrict viral transmission from persons in the same family household.

Toothbrushes are easily contaminated with both bacteria and viruses after one use. When the brush is wiped on the toothpaste tube to place toothpaste on it, viruses are transferred to the tube. As a result, the same tube of toothpaste should not be shared, and should be used by one person alone.

In the bathroom, many studies have shown that flushing the toilet spreads an aerosol of bacteria for 3 feet or more. As a result, closing the lid before flushing helps to trap the aerosol. Also, when possible toothbrushes should not be stored near the toilet itself to prevent contamination from flushing.

When brushes are not in use, they might be stored in a cup or container. The same container should not be used to store family toothbrushes since transmission from brush to brush is highly likely, so should be discouraged. For the brush to dry and reduce bacterial growth, the brush head should be stored in an upright position allowing air drying between uses, and the brush head should be disinfected with hydrogen peroxide 1%, or povidone-iodide at 0.2% after use.

The tongue is a reservoir of both bacteria and viruses. To reduce the spread of virus particles from person to person, tongue brushing is an effective method of reducing viral load and reducing contagiousness of COVID.

Some simple attention to detail can be extremely helpful in reducing the spread of COVD among family members during isolation and pandemic periods.