We know we’re supposed to brush our teeth twice a day. But how often are we supposed to replace our toothbrush?
When you visit the dentist for your routine cleaning, you typically leave with a souvenir – a toothbrush. Don’t wait until your next dentist appointment to get a new toothbrush, though.
Dental professionals recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. There are several reasons why:
- The Effectiveness. After about 3 months of use a toothbrush’s bristles start to lose their strength. You may notice the bristles on your toothbrush fanning out to the sides. If your toothbrush is very worn, you may even see fraying on the bristles. The bristles on your toothbrush need to stand strong in order to reach all those tooth crevices and remove the plaque.
- The Cleanliness. This is something we don’t like to think about. Our toothbrush could be a place for mold or bacteria to live. It’s best to rinse and dry your toothbrush well after each use. If you leave residue on your toothbrush, that is a place for bacteria to grow. If not dried properly, mold could harbor. Additionally, the recommendation is to store it upright and uncovered, away from the toilet. If you have to keep your toothbrushes in proximity to a toilet, be sure to close the lid before every flush, to avoid any potential spray or splash. If you are traveling, it is best to cover your toothbrush while you store it, but beware that this could increase the chance of mold growth. Be sure to not store your toothbrush covered long-term. If you see any dark colors or color changes on your toothbrush or in the bristles, that is a sign of mold. Click HERE for some tips on how to clean your toothbrush.
- For Your Health. It may seem unlikely, but your toothbrush is a way you could spread illness. If you’ve been sick, it is best practice to get a new toothbrush. You will avoid reinfecting yourself. Also, you will cut down on the chance of spreading your illness to a family member. If you share toothpaste, a family member could get sick from touching their toothbrush with the toothpaste after it’s been on your toothbrush. Or if you share a cup with your toothbrushes all together, you could pass viruses. Cold and flu germs can live on a toothbrush for up to 3 days, and bacteria can live even longer. This is why it is recommended to store toothbrushes away from each other.
Tooth decay often begins between teeth or in teeth grooves in back teeth. It’s most likely to begin where toothbrush bristles don’t reach or aren’t able to clear away food particles. This is why it is important to include flossing in your daily oral hygiene routine. Also using mouthwash in your dental hygiene routine is helpful to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
So the best thing you can do to prevent cavities is to keep your mouth clean and free of food debris and particles. Therefore, brushing twice a day, along with flossing and using mouthwash, and visiting your dentist every six months is the recommended best way to try to avoid cavities.
Your dentist can give you recommendations for a specific type of toothbrush that would be best for you and your oral hygiene.
Typically, dentists recommend getting a softer bristle to avoid damage and wear to your gums and mouth. You can try different sizes to see what works best for you. Dentists usually suggest using a toothbrush that is big enough to brush at least two teeth at a time, but small enough to fit comfortably all around your mouth.
Many dentists endorse using an electric toothbrush. But they fail to mention how often users should replace their electric toothbrush heads and how detrimental it can be if they don’t change them often enough. The toothbrush head on an electric toothbrush may need to be changed more often than every 3 months. This is because the bristles are break down quicker due to the vibrating/pulsating movements of the brush head. Another contributing factor is that the bristles are shorter than manual toothbrushes. People may be less likely to replace their electric toothbrush heads as often as recommended due to the price of the replacement heads.
Toothbrushes are available at all price points, at many stores. It is best to have a stock of toothbrushes in the house so you’ll have a new one ready whenever you need it.
You can look forward to getting a new toothbrush at your next appointment at Dentistry at 1818 Market Street. If you are in need of a toothbrush before your next cleaning visit, stop by anytime and we’ll give you a complimentary toothbrush, as long as you have your next cleaning scheduled. If you want to know what to expect at your next teeth cleaning, click HERE for more information. We look forward to seeing you!