Knowing when it’s time to change your toothbrush may not be something you’ve ever considered. After all, is there really an appropriate time to trade out your current brush for a new, shiny one? Actually, according to dentists and other oral healthcare professionals, yes, there is. In this article, we’ll look at the recommendation provided by dental experts as to when you should plan to swap out your toothbrush and why. You may just realize that in doing so, you’ll keep your mouth healthier for longer.
When to Say Goodbye to Your Toothbrush
Dentists recommend that you should change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. This might mean throwing away your old, manual brush for a new one, or swapping out the head on your electric device. But if you’re wondering why, there are many reasons, some of which include:
- Worn Bristles – Over time, no matter how hard or soft you brush your teeth, the bristles will become worn. As a result, they are less effective at removing built-up bacteria and harmful particles. If you continue to use a worn toothbrush, you might find that it becomes more abrasive, putting you at risk for gum recession and ultimately, periodontal disease.
- Bacteria Formation – Every morning and night, you brush your teeth (or you should), which means bacteria can accumulate. If you continue to use it longer than necessary, it will eventually carry more harmful bacteria that will wreak havoc on your teeth and gums.
- Illness – If you have been sick, there is a good chance that the virus is now on your toothbrush. Over time, the cross-contamination will make it more likely that you become sick again. If you’ve been dealing with the flu or a cold, don’t continue to use your brush. Throw it away and replace it.
Ways to Care For Your Toothbrush
To avoid having to throw out your brush too soon, there are steps you can take to ensure that you take proper care of it. No one wants to put a dirty or bacteria-filled brush into their mouth, so here are a few tips to remember when taking the time to clean yours:
- Avoid sharing your toothbrush with anyone else (this includes family members), as it can easily transfer bacteria from one person to another.
- Let it air dry instead of placing a cover over it or keeping it in a drawer, as these are damp areas and can make bacteria more likely to form.
- Rinse your brush with hot water after use.
- Wash your hands before brushing your teeth to avoid any transference of germs.
- Purchase a toothbrush sanitizer that is approved by the FDA.
Don’t keep using your toothbrush just because you think it’s safe. By following these steps and being aware of its state, you can better protect your smile throughout the year.
About the Author
Dr. Mariliza LaCap has more than two decades of experience working in the oral healthcare field. She and her colleagues work hard to provide patients with beneficial tips to ensure a healthier smile. Whether it is about the importance of regular dental checkups and cleanings or keeping you aware of how often you should change your toothbrush, you can freely contact us at (201) 453-4863 to learn more.