When the brisk winter chill moves in, so does flu and cold season.

While getting a flu shot, washing your hands often, and avoiding people who are sick can greatly reduce your risk of getting ill, one of the most forgotten or overlooked preventative measures includes making sure to also practice good oral health.

Health teeth and gums due to good oral hygiene can not only prevent gum disease, but also other types of systemic diseases. If you are experiencing chronic gum inflammation then you are opening your mouth up as a portal through which bacteria can more easily enter your bloodstream. There was recently a study by Yale University School of Medicine which discovered a link between bacterial pneumonia and oral hygiene. This link was found to double the risk factor of contracting pneumonia in those with sever gum problems due to poor oral hygiene.

According to the CDC, simply rinsing your toothbrush to the point of being visibly clean isn’t enough to remove harmful bacteria. To reduce contamination it is recommended that your toothbrush (or brush head) be replaced at least every 3-4 months and also after illness.

Tips to fight infection

  • Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after brushing
  • Allow your tooth brush to air dry in an upright position
  • Wash your hands before and after brushing or flossing – this can prevent bacteria from entering your mouth
  • Never share toothbrushes with anyone
  • Make sure to keep toothbrushes separate from one another in order to prevent cross contamination and unintentional spreading of germs
  • Sterilize your toothbrush once a week
  • Replace your toothbrush (or brush head) at least every 3-4 months and also after illness