For many people, changing toothbrushes is not a priority like it is to restock the fridge, buy new skincare products or empty the trash. It's something that only crosses our mind when the old toothbrush completely wears off.
But that’s not how things should be! Good dental health starts with using a clean and relatively new toothbrush. You also need to brush at least twice a day. If you’re confused about what “relatively new” means, below is our informed analysis of how often you need to replace your toothbrush.
The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. The association based their advice on various studies that showed toothbrush bristles started degenerating after 3 months, which means they start becoming ineffective in getting rid of plaque and food particles in the teeth.
Moreover, toothbrush bristles can attract and harbor germs and bacteria, which can threaten your dental health. This buildup, and the health issues it can cause, may prompt you to change your toothbrush even before the recommended time. For instance, you are advised to replace your toothbrush if you happen to get a sore throat or any other bacterial infection, even if you’ve only been using it for a week. This simple act helps to avoid re-infection.
The ADA also cautions against storing your toothbrushes in closed containers as the conditions therein allow bacteria and fungus to develop and thrive. Instead, store your brushes in an upright position and always rinse them after use to clear residue paste and food particles. When storing multiple toothbrushes together, ensure the bristles don’t touch at any time. When traveling, carry your toothbrush in a dry travel container where it won’t mix with other items.
All in all, you don’t need to wait for 3 months to replace your brush. For good measure, do it as soon as you notice the bristles starting to bend or look frayed.
If you don’t replace your toothbrush after the recommended time frame, you risk acquiring bacterial infections since the more you keep the brush, the more bacterial and fungi buildup in the bristles. Further, as we’ve just said, older brushes have weak bristles that can’t reach and remove all the plaque in the teeth. And as you probably know, unchecked buildup of plaque causes gingivitis, tooth decay, and even gum disease.
Essentially, getting a new toothbrush is a cheaper alternative to the dental treatments you may have to undergo if you develop bacterial infections.
If this article has got you more intent on buying new dental care products, you may want to keep a few things in mind before you go shopping. One, you need to first seek the advice of your family dentist on what products to purchase, and how to use them. Secondly, you should consider getting an electric toothbrush, subject to your dentist’s approval. Electric toothbrushes are much better in removing plaque and tiny food pieces, clearing teeth stains, and alleviating gingivitis.