Everyone knows the discomfort of dreading every single swallow when you have a terrible, piercing, stabbing sore throat. Common wisdom dictates that you should throw your toothbrush away (or replace your electric toothbrush head) if you’ve had a significant illness. The fact is, bacteria can grow on toothbrushes. However, one particularly unpleasant illness – strep throat – was recently studied, and to the surprise of scientists, dentists, and probably your own well-meaning mother, you probably don’t need to replace a toothbrush after a bout with strep. Riverside dentists at Riverside Dental Group, will tell you more about this fascinating research.

Germ Growth Unrelated to Mouth Bacteria?

Results of the original study focusing on germ growth on toothbrushes was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC. University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston backed the research up with a similar trial. The study did not refute that bacteria grow on toothbrushes of all kinds. Scientists made an effort to grow the strep throat germ – A Streptococcus (GSA) – on used toothbrushes to expected success. However, brand new toothbrushes were handled in a sterile way and still exhibited germ growth. Staphylococcus appeared on these clean and barely exposed toothbrushes in 48 hours. The significance of this was that germ growth could occur in spite of exposure to your mouth.

No Strep Germs from People with Strep

The second part of the study focused on fourteen patients who presented with strep throat, another thirteen that had non-strep sore throats, and twenty-seven people that were in completely good health. These volunteers were instructed to brush their teeth for a length of two minutes. Their toothbrush specimens were sealed and sent to a lab. Researchers examined the brushes for GAS. Of every single toothbrush, only one had GAS bacteria, and it was a person who did not have strep throat. Judith L. Rowen (associate professor of pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at UTMB) co-authored the written results of the research, and said “This study supports that it is probably unnecessary to throw away your toothbrush after a diagnosis of strep throat.”

Dental Checkups from Riverside Dentists

If are in need of a dental checkup, contact your Riverside dentists for a consultation. We offer comprehensive dentistry to patients of all ages. Contact our 92506 dentist office at (951) 369-1001. We serve patients throughout Riverside County.