While the anti-COVID-19 vaccines are effective as a preventive measure against the virus, experts believe that the jabs can't guarantee 100 per cent protection from the coronavirus in all situations. Hence, taking precautions has become extremely important, both, for those who had recovered from infection and those who are not infected.
Dentists have now recommended that a person who has recently recovered from COVID-19 should immediately change their toothbrush. They believe that doing so can save the person from re-infection as well as others who utilise the same washroom.
"If you or anyone in your family and friend circle have contracted Covid-19, once recovered, please ensure to change your toothbrush, tongue cleaner etc. These can harbour the virus, and it is best they are discarded," explained Dr Pravesh Mehra, HOD Dental Surgery, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi.
Dr Bhumika Madan, Consultant (Dental), Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, agreed with Mehra's assessment. Madan added that she usually recommends to persons who had been infected with seasonal flu, cough and cold to change their toothbrush and tongue cleaners upon recovery.
"We are advising the same to Covid-19 patients too. If you have contracted Covid-19, you should change your toothbrush and tongue cleaner after 20 days of getting the first symptoms," Madan further added. The doctor explained that bacteria/virus builds up over time on the surface of the toothbrush and this is known to cause upper respiratory tract infections.
"As a prevention, we prescribe using mouthwash and betadine gargle that helps in reducing build-up of virus/bacteria in the mouth. If a mouthwash is not available, rinsing the mouth with warm saline water also works fine. Apart from this, one must maintain oral hygiene and brush twice a day," Madan stated.
How COVID-19 can spread via toothbrush?
COVID-19 is known to spread through droplets released when a person coughs, sneezes, shouts, talks and laughs. The coronavirus is also airborne meaning that once released from an infected person it can stay in the air for a while and be transmitted to other people.
COVID-19 can spread through toothbrush and tongue cleaners as these items belonging to an infected person are likely to have a significantly high concentration of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Hence continued use of these items can lead to re-infection or fresh COVID-19 infection in others.
If someone in a household has contracted coronavirus then it is advisable that the toiletry items (toothbrush, tongue cleaner etc.) used by the infected person should be thrown out.
(Edited by Mohammad Haaris Beg)