January 6, 2021
If you’re like most people, you grew up hearing your dentist and family members telling you that you need to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. But you probably weren’t told how often you should change your toothbrush. Using the same toothbrush for too long could render it not as effective and could even end up doing more harm than good. Keep reading to learn when you should change your toothbrush.
When Should You Change a Manual Toothbrush?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should replace a manual toothbrush every three to four months. If you use your brush for much longer than that, the bristles will start to become frayed and worn, and they won’t be as effective at clearing away plaque. When too much plaque and food debris linger in your mouth, your risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases.
When Should You Replace the Head of an Electric Toothbrush?
In general, you should replace the head of your electric toothbrush every 12 weeks. This should be done more often than for a manual toothbrush because electric brushes often have shorter bristles. For this reason, they tend to become worn down more quickly and must be replaced sooner. You might even want to switch out your brush head earlier than 12 weeks if you notice that the bristles don’t appear to be in the best shape.
How to Make Your Toothbrush Last Longer
To ensure your toothbrush in good condition for as long as possible, follow these tips:
- Don’t keep your toothbrush in a place where it could come into contact with the head of another toothbrush. This makes it all too easy for germs to spread to everyone in a household.
- Always rinse off your toothbrush after brushing your teeth.
- Don’t store your toothbrush in a closed container. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria and mold to grow.
- No matter how close you are with another person, never share your toothbrush.
- Do not use mouthwash, soap, or other disinfectants to clean your toothbrush.
If you want to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, it’s crucial to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. That includes using all of the right dental tools, and an old, frayed toothbrush is not one of them. Make sure that you are replacing your toothbrush and visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings on a regular basis. It will help keep your smile healthy and bright!
About the Author
Dr. Mark Stapleton obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2005 from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. He then achieved a Fellowship with the Academy of General Dentistry in 2010. Today, he focuses on helping families in Chaska, MN and the surrounding communities maintain healthy smiles at White Oak Dental. For more tips on at-home oral hygiene, you can contact Dr. Stapleton’s office via his website or by calling (952) 448-2868.
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