You brush your teeth twice a day, every day, right? But how often do you replace your toothbrush or brush head? Brushing is such a mundane activity that it can be easy to forget that a toothbrush doesn’t last forever, even an electric model. However, it’s important to replace your toothbrush on a regular schedule, at least three or four times a year.
According to the American Dental Association, manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads should be replaced every three to four months or as soon as the bristles start fraying and matting, whichever comes first. Why is this important?
Your toothbrush picks up a lot of food particles, toothpaste residue, and bacteria every time it goes in your mouth, and studies show that toothbrushes are prone to picking up fecal coliform bacteria from nearby toilet flushes. Using a toothbrush cover keeps out the toilet bacteria, but keeps the bristles damp, which encourages the other germs to grow. Either way, your brush can get pretty nasty in just a few months’ time.
A worn out toothbrush or electric brush head simply doesn’t clean as well as a fresh one. You can brush for a full two minutes with an old brush and your teeth will not be as clean as if you had used a new toothbrush. The bristles on a toothbrush are arranged for the most effective cleaning, and if they begin to fray or bend, they won’t get into all the nooks and crannies as well and your dental hygiene will suffer.
If your toothbrush bristles begin to fray or splay outward quickly, you may be brushing too hard, which can damage your teeth. Ease off a little or ask your dentist for brushing tips.
To help you remember to change your toothbrush every three to four months, many brushes now come with colored “indicator bristles” that fade to white when it’s time to replace the brush. You could also mark it on your calendar or set a notification on your phone. Of course, we’ll give you a new toothbrush at your six-month checkup, too.
At Westmoreland Dental Group, we’d be happy to help you maintain or regain your healthy smile, and we offer dental services for the whole family. To learn more about us or to make an appointment, call our office or contact us today.