We make sure to throw away any food items that expire, check our supplements to make sure they are still fresh, change the oil on our vehicles, but what about toothbrushes? When is the last time you replaced yours?
Here, we’ll examine how often to change your toothbrush and why it is so important to switch out your toothbrush on a regular basis.
Is Your Toothbrush Clean? The Surprising (And Gross) Truth
You brush in the morning, at night, and maybe even in between meals (bonus points!). However, you may not be leaving your mouth as fresh as you hope.
A study from the University of Manchester in England discovered that the average toothbrush can contain up to 10 million (or more!) bacteria, including E. coli. and Staph.
When Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?
A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every 3 months. This helps to ensure the bristles maintain their proper function to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
However, certain situations warrant more frequent replacements. Aside from the 3 month rule, here are 7 ways to tell if you need a new toothbrush:
- Check the Bristles – Are the bristles on your toothbrush straight and similar to how they looked when you first bought it? Or are they worn, crooked, frayed, or bent? If the bristles on your toothbrush are showing too much wear and tear, it is time to get a new one since a damaged brush will not be as effective at cleaning.
- Check for Debris Near the Base – Check the very base of the bristles. Is there stuck on debris? If so, it is time for a replacement toothbrush.
- Have You Been Sick? – If you were sick, it does not hurt to be on the safe side and consider a new brush. After being sick, some germs can actually put you at risk of re-infecting yourself when you use your toothbrush.
- Has It Been Touching Another Toothbrush? – If you have a significant other or children, there is a good chance your toothbrushes are stored close to each other. It is important to avoid this since it can lead to bacteria swapping. If your toothbrush has come in contact with the bristles of another toothbrush, it is a good time to consider getting a replacement.
- Do You Remember the Last Time You Replaced Your Toothbrush? – If you aren’t sure when you last replaced your toothbrush, it is fair to assume that is is time for a new one. A new brush will help maintain optimal oral health.
- Does the Toothbrush Belong to A Child? Kids’ brushes tend to need to be replaced more often since children are more likely to chew on the bristles, leading to fraying and damage. Pay attention to your child’s use of their toothbrush and, if necessary, swap it out for a new one if you start noticing signs of damage.
- Check the Colour – If you notice any dark colour changes, it could indicate mold. In this case, it is important to err on the side of caution and replace your toothbrush.
What Happens If I Don’t Change My Toothbrush Often Enough?
If the potential for E. coli or Staph lurking on your toothbrush isn’t enough to convince you to replace it more often, consider the other risks that can occur from using a worn out toothbrush.
One of the biggest issues involves the risk of gum damage since old toothbrushes are not as efficient when it comes to removing plaque. This can lead to gingivitis, which can then lead to an infection if left untreated.
What To Consider When Shopping for a New Toothbrush
Common suggestions for purchasing a new toothbrush include looking for one with softer bristles, as harder bristles can be too harsh and cause damage to teeth and gums.
You can also consider purchasing an electric toothbrush as their bristles may help you keep more plaque off your teeth.
Better yet, use a toothbrush and mouthwash containing fluoride (at a separate time of day to brushing). This will further protect you against plaque and gingivitis. And last, but definitely not least, do not forget to floss!
Let Us Help You Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy and Bright
If you have any further questions about how often to change your toothbrush or what kind of toothbrush you should be using, feel free to reach out to us or bring it up at your next appointment.
We enjoy educating our patients and empowering them with the knowledge they need to maintain their healthiest mouth possible!