Public urged to regularly sterilise toothbrushes to stop coronavirus spread
The UK public are being told to regularly sterilise toothbrushes to avoid contamination during the coronavirus crisis.
As the nation goes into lockdown, the charity Dental Wellness Trust has launched an oral health initiative in London.
Its aim is to ensure those most in need – the elderly and homeless – have access to a toothbrush to prevent infection spread.
But the organisation is also telling the UK public to sterilise their toothbrushes daily with hot water and salt to prevent household contamination.
Those with related symptoms are being told to replace their toothbrush after the first seven days.
And those who have had the infection should replace their toothbrush regularly.
This is because the virus can continue to be spread in the saliva.
Toothbrushes should be stored away from others in the family, with each having its own separate holder.
‘Essential’ daily cleaning
As coronavirus is spread through water or mucus droplets from the nose and mouth, rinsing a toothbrush with cold water is not enough to kill the virus.
Consequently, sterilising the brush is essential if the virus is to be stopped within a household.
Aside from hot water and sat, another option is soaking your toothbrush in 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. This should be done for three to five minutes.
Dr Linda Greenwall, founder of the Dental Wellness Trust, said: ‘Toothbrushes can be covered in all sorts of germs from your mouth. This includes bacteria and viruses, which will remain on its surface.
‘That’s why daily cleaning or sterilising is essential and people are reminded not to share their toothbrush.’
For dentures, the charity advises scrubbing the whole appliance – including the fitting surfaces – with a nail brush and soft soap.
Dishwashing liquid is recommended as it removes food stains.
The dentures can then be soaked in water mixed with a teaspoon of vinegar, acetic acid or white.