Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 9th 2016 Contents cer or have an underlying immunologic dis-
order---then it would certainly help
to discard your toothbrush imme-
diately after you recover from an ill-
Think about your toothpaste, too. Dirty fin-
gers or a dirty brush could pass harmful microbes
to the rim of the tube. "If someone in your family
is ill, they should consider using their own tube in
order to prevent cross-contamination," she says.
In sickness and in health, toothbrushes should be replaced
every three to four months (or sooner, if the bristles are badly
frayed or you have gum dieases, or any oral or tongue lesions
or infections). And always practise good toothbrush hygiene in
the meantime: "The
best way to care for
your toothbrush is to
shake it vigorously
under running water after
brushing. Make sure all tooth-
paste and food particles are removed from
the brush," Dr Vyas advises. "Then, place
it upright in a toothbrush holder---and make sure it does
not touch other toothbrushes."
If you ve been using a cover, ditch it, Dr Vyas adds. Covering
the bristles may make it easier for germs to settle on them; and
in that dark, moist case, they are likely to thrive.
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, March 9, 2016
In the days after you ve recovered from a nasty
bug, you probably have a germ-ridding routine:
washing your sheets and towels, scrubbing your
mugs and water bottle, and likely, tossing your
toothbrush. But is getting rid of your toothbrush
really necessary to keep germs from spreading?
It turns out there s no definitive rule, says Neha
Vyas, MD, a family medicine doctor at the Cleveland
Clinic. Germs could potentially live on toothbrushes
for up to a few days. "But there isn t enough evi-
dence in the scientific literature to show that, as
a result, they cause disease in people," she explains.
The fact is, the odds that you d reinfect yourself
are slim to nil, because when your immune system
fights off a bug, it develops antibodies to keep it
from coming back. As for the people who share
your sink? They re probably safe as well, as long
as they don t use your toothbrush (ew) or store
theirs right next to yours.
All of that said, your bout with the bacteria or
virus weakened your immune system; and given
the fact that there are many other types of bugs
that could infect you anew, starting fresh with a
pristine, germ-free toothbrush isn t a terrible idea,
Dr Vayas says.
Toss the old one within a few days of your recov-
ery, she suggests. "And if you are immunocom-
promised in any way---you re being treated for can-
How soon should you change your toothbrush?
Unhealthy middle-aged people must improve
their lifestyles if they want to enjoy a healthy
retirement, a new UK government campaign is
warning. Public Health England s One You cam-
paign is urging the over 40s to drink less, exercise
more, eat better and give up smoking. It is the
first national UK campaign to specifically target
Currently more than two-fifths of Uk citizens
aged 45 to 64 are living with an illness or disability
in England. The campaign will warn those in mid-
dle-age that unless they change their ways, they
could die early or face a retirement blighted with
While overall life expectancy has been rising in
recent decades, the years people spend in good
health has changed little. But research has shown
that living healthy in middle age can double an
individual s chances of being healthy at 70.
To encourage people to change their ways, Public
Health England, the government s advisory body,
is launching an online lifestyle checker under the
One You brand. It allows people to answer a series
of simple questions about their lifestyle and gives
them a rating out of 10. It then provides them with
advice about where they can get help and what
they need to do to change their lifestyles.
PHE has also joined force with a number of part-
ners, including the BBC Get Inspired brand, Asda---
which will be providing free blood pressure checks---
and Slimming World---which is providing discounted
access to its schemes.
The campaign will be promoted online, on TV
and through a national high street poster cam-
PHE adviser Prof Sir Muir Gray said: "One You
is designed to help every individual identify not
only their risks but also the pressures they face in
their life and the stress that results and then support
them with personalised tools and advice."
England s chief medical officer Prof Dame Sally
Davies urged people to use it as an opportunity to
act. "We all have the power to shape our future
health by making simple and small changes now."
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
UK urges middle-aged
folks to get active
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