Understanding When & Why You Need to Change Your Toothbrush
As they say, all good things must come to an end… While knowing when to change your toothbrush may seem pretty obvious to all of you dental hygiene enthusiasts out there, it may be unclear to others. We’re going to provide a quick rundown of the different types of toothbrushes available in today’s oral hygiene market and what you need to know about each variety in order to ensure that your beloved bristles remain a sound, healthy solution for your mouth.
As a general rule of thumb, most toothbrush manufacturers recommend that you change your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or 12-16 weeks (depending on how you prefer to see time). There are instances, however, when this may need to be done sooner. The most important factor to remember is that by not changing your toothbrush, electric toothbrush or rechargeable toothbrush head after the recommended period of time, you may compromise your dental health. It’s easy to avoid risking and exposing yourself to unwanted bacteria and other potentially harmful infections simply by regularly changing out your oral hygiene helpers.
Let’s first take a look at some general tooth brushing facts & tips to help you understand why it’s important to continuously change your toothbrush:
- It’s your first line of defense against unwanted bacteria & one of the best tools you can use to fight against gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.
- The standard recommendation is to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes each day.
- Soft bristle brushes function to help remove old food and bacteria that tend to take up residence around the bases of your teeth.
- Brush between each meal or after sugary snacks to be even more proactive about preventing tooth decay.
How Do I Know When It’s Time to Change My Toothbrush?
We never said change was easy, but it’s usually necessary when it comes to promoting positive growth and development. So now we’ll answer your burning question about when it’s time to change your toothbrush.
- If you’re brushing at least 2x per day, you’ll notice that the bristles in your brush will start to fall out or become twisted within 3 months.
- The CDC recommends changing your toothbrush every 3-4 months because once the bristles are worn out, your toothbrush may not be as effective.
- The bottom line is that once the bristles in your brush lose their stiffness, they’re no longer an efficient tool for your mouth.
In order to preserve the life of your toothbrush, here are some quick tips on toothbrush care:
- First and foremost, do not share toothbrushes. The obvious reason is the transfer of germs; yes, they can live on your toothbrush even after rinsing.
- Once you’ve finished brushing, rinse your toothbrush with tap water and let it air dry. You’ll want to make sure that you place your toothbrush in an upright position for complete dryness. If you share a toothbrush holder with another brush, place them far apart so they’re not touching each other.
- Avoid soaking toothbrushes in disinfecting solutions or mouthwash as this may unintentionally cause a transfer of germs.
- Avoid using appliances like dishwashers or microwaves as well as UV devices as a means to disinfect your toothbrush; doing so may cause more damage than good.
- Do not cover your toothbrush or store it in an enclosed space as this can lead to the growth of bacteria.
When Do I Change My Electric or Rechargeable Toothbrush Head?
Similarly to a regular toothbrush, you’ll want to change your electric toothbrush’s head every 3 months, or 12 weeks. The main sign to look for is wear and tear on the bristles. Electric toothbrushes clean by rotating and vibrating bristles on the surfaces of your teeth; because they boast shorter bristles than a regular toothbrush, they tend to fray more quickly.
Here are Some Other Reasons to Change Your Toothbrush:
Wear and tear and Father Time may not be the only reasons that you need to call in a set of fresh bristles. Let’s highlight some other situations that may require you to make a change:
- Cold Season: If anyone in your home has been experiencing a cold and inevitably spreading germs rampantly throughout your shared space, it’s a good idea to change out all toothbrushes that live together in your bathroom.
- Viral & Bacterial Infections: Whether it’s strep throat or anything else that falls into these categories, you’ll want to make sure that you start fresh with a new toothbrush after your illness has subsided.
- Kids: Can they really be trusted? We joke, kind of. If your child is just starting to get into the rhythm of brushing his or her teeth, we recommend staying in the bathroom during this process to ensure he or she is using the toothbrush properly.
- Kids – Part 2: We repeat, can they really be trusted? If your loving little one has taken a liking to your toothbrush, get rid of it, replace it and keep it somewhere out of their reach. This goes for anyone that might have accidentally (or intentionally) used your toothbrush – every person’s mouth is unique and harbors different bacteria, so it’s best that you start fresh if you suspect your brush has traveled within the confines of another unknown orifice.
As always, if you have any questions that we haven’t answered, feel free to reach out!