Dentists recommend regular toothbrushing in order to maintain good oral health. Brushing helps to remove harmful bacteria that will build up, consume the sugars from your food, and create acid byproducts that will damage your teeth. It’s also important to use a good quality toothbrush, take care of it, and replace it regularly when the bristles get damaged. How often should you replace your toothbrush?
ADA Recommendations for Toothbrushing
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for 2-minute intervals. They say that using a manual toothbrush or an electric or sonic toothbrush works effectively as long as you brush your teeth regularly.
The average toothbrush, used daily, should last between 3-4 months. The bristles become worn down over time and, depending on the habits of the user, can get matted or frayed. If you notice that it’s harder to get your teeth clean or that your gums are bleeding or showing other signs of gingivitis, then it’s time for a new toothbrush even if 4 months have not passed since you replaced it.
Taking Care of Your Toothbrush
There are some tricks to keeping your toothbrush clean and in good shape. First, you should rinse your toothbrush when you’ve finished using it to remove any toothpaste or gunk. Second, you should store your toothbrush upright. This will make it easier for it to dry out between uses. A wet toothbrush stored in a closed container like a drawer or a medicine cabinet is more welcoming to germs than one that is dry and exposed to air.
Do not share your toothbrush with anyone. Anything that you put in your mouth will then contain whatever germs you have. That’s true for your boyfriend’s or your kid’s toothbrush too. Most people brush their teeth in the bathroom, and that is also where the toilet is. If you do not want to expose your toothbrush to the germs that get spread when the toilet is flushed, make sure to put the toilet seat down before every flush.
Some people prefer having the option to sterilize their toothbrushes between uses. They may have little kids with grabby hands or be fighting off a cold. If you would like to make sure your toothbrush is sterilized for whatever reason, soaking it in 3-percent hydrogen peroxide or in Crest Pro-Health mouthwash for 20 minutes will reduce bacterial load by up to 85 percent. You can also put your toothbrush in the dishwasher silverware tray and run the dishwasher as usual to clean it.
Replace Your Toothbrush
The answer to the question of how often you should replace your toothbrush is often. If you think your toothbrush is getting too old or less effective than it used to be, it is. Get a new one. Toothbrushes are cheap, so buy a few more when you go to the store or pharmacy next time to make sure everyone in your house has one and that toothbrush is in good condition. Your teeth and your overall oral health will be better off if you make that small, regular investment in yourself.