How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?

You brush, floss, and keep up with your routine dental appointments for good preventative care.
By all accounts, you’re the perfect dental patient!

Have you given thought to just how often you change out your toothbrush though?

Are the bristles frayed and broken?

Have you been sick since you got your current toothbrush?

Believe it or not, you may need to replace your toothbrush more often than you do right now. We know that our toothbrushes are not made to last indefinitely. But, just how often should you be opening a fresh and new toothbrush?

Patients who have dentures may think that it’s not as important for them to replace their toothbrushes often, but this isn’t the case.

A toothbrush timeline

You may be surprised to learn that most dentists and toothbrush manufacturers suggest that toothbrushes are replaced every 3 to 4 months. This recommendation is even backed by the American Dental Association (ADA).

In an ideal world, you are using your toothbrush daily at least twice a day. If you are using the correct brushing techniques, you will wear down the bristles each time you use your toothbrush. This is entirely normal, and it is expected.

Keep in mind that it is important to replace a toothbrush if you see any signs of bristle wear and tear. This should hold true whether you’re using a manual or an electric toothbrush with replaceable heads.

The importance of replacing toothbrushes

If you don’t replace your toothbrush every 12 to 16 weeks, just what could happen? After all, you’re still brushing your teeth after you eat and before bed.

If you have been sick or other family members who share your bathroom have been sick, you need to replace everyone’s toothbrush. Whether a cold or a stomach virus, any illness should have you throwing the toothbrushes away and starting fresh. The replacement of your toothbrush after an illness can be a way to help you and your family stay healthy. Otherwise, you are at risk for constantly reintroducing these nasty viruses or germs to everyone in your family.

Related to illness, the longer that a toothbrush is in use, the more opportunity it has to gather bacteria. Rinsing and drying it well can only do so much to keep your toothbrush from becoming a source of infection amongst your family.

Bristles that have started to bend or fray can lead to damage to both your gums and teeth. Damaged toothbrushes are simply not going to let you get the clean that you need. In response to this, you may start to use more pressure to get your teeth cleaner. However, the concern is that aggressive brushing and force can result in gum irritation. It can lead to gum recession and also injury that offers the potential for infection.

Your damaged or worn and old toothbrush won’t be able to get your teeth as clean as they need to be. This can result in plaque hardening, the formation of tartar, and ultimately decay in the teeth, and infection in the gums. Patients could find themselves facing root canal therapy or potentially the loss of one or more teeth.

Can a toothbrush be sanitized?

Don’t fall for gimmicks on social media. Your toothbrush shouldn’t be sanitized using steam or boiling water.

When you are done brushing your teeth, rinse the toothbrush with water.

You don’t need to incorporate mouthwash, a disinfectant, or boiling water to sanitize your toothbrush. Taking these steps to sanitize your toothbrush can not only result in damage to the toothbrush, but it can spread bacteria.

Rinse well and allow to air dry. That’s all you need to do.

Toothbrush replacement schedule for the whole family

Your toothbrush, whether manual or electric, is an integral part of your healthy oral hygiene routine. Get the most out of your toothbrush by storing it upright and allowing it to air dry. Try to avoid storing damp toothbrushes inside closed containers, potentially spreading bacteria and fostering mold growth.

You should have a plan to replace your family’s toothbrushes every three or so months. Mark it down on your family calendar or set reminders on your phone.

You may need to replace children’s toothbrushes more often, particularly if they have a habit of chewing on the bristles while brushing. Be sure to watch young children brush their teeth so that you can make sure they are doing a good job at it.

Keep your teeth and gums healthy with routine checkups and preventative treatments. We offer focused dental care that will keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

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