The Truth About The Flu And If You Need To Replace Your Toothbrush
With spring on the horizon, the good news is that the worst of the flu season is likely behind us. And for gigging musicians, it means even more good news. With the warm weather comes touring and, part and parcel to that, traveling. Here's a crucial health tip to keep in mind: If you've been recently hit with a cold or the flu, there's one thing that you probably haven't done that you need to do right now. And your dentist — and your body — will thank you for it later.
After you have an episode of flu, cold or other viral infections, many dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush. Those pesky, notorious microbes can implant themselves on the toothbrush bristles — which means, though you are unlikely to be infected again with the same virus, there can be other strains of germs that could rear their head at any time. In other words, with bacteria lingering on your toothbrush, a new illness can develop.
"There are so many bacteria that can reside on a toothbrush; therefore, it is always best to get rid of it once you have been infected with some sort of viral or bacterial illness," Dr. Heather Rosen, medical director of UPMC North Huntington Urgent Care, told Today.com.
"The flu virus can live on objects for up to 6 hours. But if you imagine an object that's wet and has saliva on it, it could probably live there even longer," Dr. Brooks Woodward, the dental director at Chase Brexton Health Services, told ABC2.com. "And you're just going to keep on putting something like that back into your mouth, it's going to inhibit you from getting a little bit better."
Another thing to bear in mind: If you have a community chest of toothbrushes in your bathroom, replacing your toothbrush following an illness will reduce the chance that the infected brush will spread germs to a nearby brush.
Sickness aside, Health.com advises replacing a toothbrush every three to four months, or potentially sooner if the bristles have worn down.
Here's another oral hygiene tip for musicians: MusiCares offers free dental clinics around the country year-round. These clinics typically offer oral exams, complete X-rays and teeth cleaning — all provided free of charge to pre-screened, pre-approved music professionals upon establishing eligibility. (A minimum of five years documented career history or credits on at least five recorded tracks/videos is required.)
Find an upcoming MusiCares event in your area.