Your preschooler likes the whirring sensation of your electric toothbrush – should you let her put it in her mouth? Can children share toothbrushes?
It’s best not to as the risk of contamination is high. The US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states categorically: “Do not share toothbrushes. The exchange of body fluids that such sharing would foster places toothbrush sharers at an increased risk for infections, a particularly important consideration for persons with compromised immune systems or infectious diseases.”
What’s worse is if you’ve recently been sick. Cold viruses can linger on toothbrushes for 48 hours if they are left dry, says Dr Wong Chin Khoon, a paediatrician from SBCC Baby & Child Clinic. All germs need is a small cut or ulcer in the mouth to enter the body.
And throw away toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold. Dr Wong says that it’s probably cheaper to change a toothbrush than buy a toothbrush-sanitising device.
It’s also a bad idea to soak toothbrushes in a disinfecting solution or mouthwash. Instead of killing germs, the CDC warns, it may cause cross-contamination if the same solution is used over a few days or by a few people. And don’t bother using ultraviolet devices, microwaves or dishwashers to kill germs on toothbrushes, either. They may just damage it rather than cleaning it.rushes. These measures may damage the toothbrush.