How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Most of us can tell when it is time to replace worn shoes. It is easy to know if you need to get new batteries or a light bulb. Yet how often should you replace your toothbrush? It turns out, not many people know how to recognize the signs that it is time to get a new brush.

Your toothbrush is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and serves as a key tool in preventing cavities and decay. Unfortunately, a toothbrush isn’t made to last forever, and after frequent use, the bristles begin to fray and become a breeding ground for bacteria. That’s why the American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three months.

Of course, there are some situations that may compel you to get a new toothbrush more frequently. Here are signs that it is time to toss your existing toothbrush and get a new one.

  • Your bristles are worn. Take a look at the bristles of your toothbrush. Are they frayed or bent? Do they no longer stand straight? Research shows that worn bristles do not clean plaque and other debris from your teeth as effectively as the bristles of a new toothbrush. Additionally, if your toothbrush’s bristles are consistently curved or mashed, it is likely a sign that you are brushing your teeth too hard. Over time, rigorous brushing can damage your tooth enamel.
  • You have been sick. When you come down with an illness, your toothbrush comes into contact with all of the germs and bacteria in your mouth. It is always a good idea to replace your old toothbrush after you have been sick to avoid reintroducing the germs into your mouth and contaminating other members of your household who store their toothbrushes near yours.
  • You use a toothbrush storage container. While travel containers can be useful during a trip, they can cause more harm than good. These closed containers create a warm, moist environment for bacteria to thrive on your toothbrush. As a general rule, if you travel and use a storage container, replace your toothbrush once returning home.

Caring for Your Toothbrush

Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, you will need to store it properly between uses. By taking care of your toothbrush month after month, you can extend its life and effectiveness. Here’s how:

  • Rinse your toothbrush with water after every use to rid the bristles of any toothpaste or debris.
  • After you have rinsed your toothbrush, store it in an upright position. This allows it to air-dry and prevents the growth of bacteria caused by excess moisture.
  • Store toothbrushes separately from other members in your household. By preventing the bristles from touching one another, you can avoid cross-contamination of germs.

Bottomline: Replacing your toothbrush is easier and less costly than having to replace damaged teeth due to decay or infection. If you have questions about when you should get a new toothbrush or how to care for it, contact our office today!