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Do You Need a New Toothbrush After the Flu?

This post doesn't talk about any newly published research, but I wanted to discuss a topic that's been itching to get noticed. Of course I don't give it much energy, but it's on my mind again since I received a flyer in the mail yesterday (even though we've created a Red-Dot Campaign "no junk mail" sticker for the mailbox...why this is repeatedly ignored is a separate issue, and someone is going to get an ear-full).

For years I've been hearing the toothbrush industry talk about how you should get a new toothbrush after a cold or flu...but this has never made sense to me, and in fact, has always kind of bothered me. So after receiving that flyer I thought, "enough of this bullsh*t!"

We all know that once you get a viral infection, you essentially develop life-long immunity to that specific viral strain.

However, before I write these companies and blast their lack of knowledge on the topic...or even lack of common sense... I thought, "wait-a-minute, it'd be ignorant of me to assume that I know what's up from down, a little arrogant too"... so I asked a dentist friend if there is anything that's taught in the dental industry that's different from other medical professions. Was I missing something here?

Now, I don't have a problem with companies marketing products if it's based on truths, or even stretching the truth to a "reasonable" degree... but utter BS is something we shouldn't stand for from these corporations,  because some within the general population will start to believe it -- and when we start believing lies, we're doomed.

So here are a couple links that my friend responded with, and he's in total agreement and has long thought the same thing...it's unethical marketing BS. The American Dental Association knows it too.


I quote my dentist friend... "It's funny how people want to live in a sterile bacteria/virus-free bubble and don't realize that if we didn't have these microorganisms in our lives, we wouldn't be here to complain about it!"

So true, and in fact, probiotics for oral care is a growing market. We need bacteria in our mouth (just need it to be the beneficial species and strains, not the pathogenic types)...so ask yourself if those advertisements for toothpastes and mouthwashes that kill bacteria make any sense (that's like prescribing continuous rounds of antibiotics...and you know what the overuse of antibiotics has given us..."super bugs").

Personally, I like to open probiotic capsules and pour them into my mouth (instead of swallowing the capsule whole). In the market, we already see probiotic chewing gums and lozenges (with good supporting science)... and I totally expect to see probiotic toothpastes and floss in the near future.

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  1. I thought the SAME thing! Thanks for covering this today doc.

    Doesn't it amaze you how little people question things? If you hear it on TV, it must be true! Yeah, right. Question everything.


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