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Should Your Sick Kids Use Separate Toothpaste?


This winter’s colds, flu, etc. seemingly have hit everyone extra hard. Recently, a mom came up to me to ask what Breezy Mama thought about whether family members who are sick should be using separate toothpaste. This topic occurred to her as she watched one of her children apply toothpaste to their toothbrush followed by her other child using the same toothpaste. Were they spreading more germs? Breezy Mama turned to our go-to pediatrician Dr. Gillin to get her feelings on kids sharing toothpaste when sick.

From Dr. Gillin:

Sharing toothpaste. That is very interesting. We all know that toothbrushes can harbor certain germs. In fact, we often ask kids to get a new toothbrush after certain infections (such as strep throat). I would always tell kids not to share toothbrushes.

So, if you watch kids share toothpaste, you know that they get the toothbrush all over it. I have never told families to not share toothpaste, but I think it is a good point, and think it would be reasonable to have each child get their own toothpaste, at least during the height of cold and flu season.

Could the toothpaste have enough antimicrobial activity to fight off the germs? Possibly. But it doesn’t hurt to have your own toothpaste.

Nice observation!!

About Dr. Gillin:

Co-founder of Coast Pediatrics Del Mar , Shakha Gillin, MD, FAAP, has been in North County since 1990. She attended UCSD for her undergraduate education and for medical school. She did her residency at UC Irvine, and was the chief resident at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach. She practiced pediatrics in La Jolla for 5 years and Encinitas for 5 years. She has also worked at a private practice in Newport Beach and at the Rady Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.

Dr. Shakha Gillin has a special interest in preventative care, particularly healthy and active lifestyles for children. She was recognized by San Diego Magazine as a “Top Doctor” in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. She was recognized as “Best Pediatrician” by Ranch and Coast in 2011 and 2012.

For more information and to contact Dr. Gillin, visit:

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  1. This seems rather extreme. If the germs are going to be shared, there are a hundred ways they might be passed between kids. Short of keeping them all in separate rooms with no contact for the extent of an illness, you can’t avoid germs.


  1. […] Separate toothpaste could prevent kids from passing on sickness – […]

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