Do you recall the last time you replaced your toothbrush? It’s normal for us to throw out expired foods, restock vitamins and supplements, and replace our beauty products often, but when it comes to our dental hygiene, it doesn’t get as much attention or thought as other areas of our regimen. Swapping out your old toothbrush with a new one regularly can prevent you from getting sick and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your brushing sessions. But how frequently should you replace your toothbrush?
When To Change Your Toothbrush
Most dentists recommend changing your toothbrush once every 3 months. One of the reasons that you should throw out your toothbrush after this length of time is that the bristles lose their cleaning ability. They may fall out or change shape. Once the bristles become splayed, they won’t maintain their performance. Frayed bristles don’t reach the spots between the teeth and along the gum line effectively.
Another consideration that often goes over our heads is that germs can hide and build up in toothbrush bristles. This makes it important to replace your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold, or risk possible reinfection.
Fungus and bacteria can also develop in the bristles if not taken care of properly. Germs can also hang out on a toothbrush. While viruses are less likely to make you sick a second time, bacteria can hang out on the bristles. Those germs can transfer to the toothpaste tube when you load up, making other people in the household sick if you share toothpaste.
If you can’t remember exactly how long it’s been, pay attention to the condition your toothbrush head is in – whether the bristles are worn out, fan out, or frayed, or especially if you see dark color changes, which is a sign of mold.
What Happens If I Don’t Change My Toothbrush Often Enough?
If knowing that bacteria and fungus accumulates on your toothbrush bristles overtime isn’t enough reason to replace your toothbrush more often, you should know that another risk includes damaging your gums, as old toothbrushes become ineffective with removing plaque from your teeth, which leads to gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis leads to infection, which can cause teeth to fall out.
Even more unappealing, you can get sick from overused toothbrushes, your toothbrush can grow mold, or you can even ingest unwanted particles if stored near a toilet.
What To Consider When Shopping for Dental Products
Some common suggestions among dental professionals are to look for toothbrushes with soft bristles, as hard bristles damage your teeth and gums, choose a toothbrush head size that touches one or two teeth at a time, use a toothpaste containing fluoride, and consider using mouthwash to further fight plaque and gingivitis, and don’t forget about floss.
Consider investing in an electric toothbrush, as these have been proven to improve oral health beyond what a manual toothbrush can do by removing plaque, reducing gingivitis and eliminating teeth staining. They’ve also been shown to minimize the amount of plaque on the teeth of people with periodontal disease.