When During Illness Do I Throw Away My Daughter’s Toothbrush?

My daughter has strep throat. Our doctor said we’ll want to get her a new toothbrush, but when I got home I realized I wasn’t clear as to when. If I throw it away now and get her a new toothbrush, she still has strep. Won’t that mean she will infect the new toothbrush? But, if I try to wait until she is better, then she could be reinfecting herself. What is the best procedure?


Dear Mary,

I can tell you are a loving mother and you are looking to do the absolute best for your children. The whole idea about a toothbrush needing to be replaced at every illness is actually something propagated by toothbrush companies more than science.

In my research, I only know of one scientific study that investigated this issue in depth. This study was done at the University of Texas in 2013. Their results showed that there was no transmission of strep throat via a toothbrush.

Honestly, I am not sure why doctors and even some pediatric dentists keep pushing this. Even if you get a new cold or another virus on the back of another one, it is a completely different strain.

How to Sterilize a Toothbrush

If you’re still worried, there is a way to sterilize your and your daughter’s toothbrush anytime you want to. Chlorine bleach has effective bactericidal properties. You just need to put enough in a cup to cover the head of your toothbrush and leave it there for about 5 mintues. Then rinse. It’s that simple.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.