The “when” and “how” of tooth brushing have been hammered into us ever since we were kids. We do know how to keep our teeth pearly white, but how about our toothbrushes? Are they supposed to last us a lifetime? Or, like any oral hygiene tool, must they be frequently changed? When was the last time you changed your old toothbrush? If no answer comes to mind, it’s probably time to get yourself a new one.
Counting on the same toothbrush for too long will be problematic for your oral health in the long run. The bristles will gradually lose their stiffness and become a haven for harmful bacteria. That is why dental professionals recommend that you change your toothbrush every now and then. Of course, some toothbrush heads will last longer than others, but not for a lifetime.
So, how often should you change your toothbrush?
Why You Should Get a New Toothbrush On a Regular Basis
Toothbrushes become less and less effective with each brush; the bristles lose their stiffness and start twisting and bending uncontrollably (i.e., bristle flaring) because of the combination of toothpaste, water, and brushing motion.
As a result, toothbrushes have a more challenging time removing food particles and bacteria effectively, paving the way for plaque build-up, bad breath, cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Research shows that the vast majority of toothbrushes are ready for replacement after 40 days of consistent use.
Furthermore, the frayed bristles start accumulating harmful bacteria, which eventually end up back inside your oral cavity. The more bacteria multiply in your mouth and toothbrush, the higher the risk of developing a bacterial infection.
How Often Should I Change My Manual Toothbrush?
The American Dental Association (ADA) advises us to replace manual toothbrush heads after three to four months of constant use. ADA bases its recommendation on brushing your teeth twice per day for two minutes.
Some of us, however, would benefit from changing our manual toothbrushes even more often. For example, people who brush their teeth more aggressively will wear out the bristles faster. Likewise, the end of an illness (e.g., a cold or flu) calls for changing your toothbrush sooner — you don’t want all those harmful germs affecting you and your family’s health!
How Often Should I Change Electric Toothbrush Heads?
The same recommendation — change your toothbrush head every three to four months — applies for electric toothbrushes, but with a small caveat: their bristles are shorter, therefore, more prone to wear and tear. Don’t hesitate to change your brush head sooner if it’s not in its best shape anymore.
How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush With Braces?
Everyone who’s had braces knows how challenging tooth brushing can be — all the care and patience necessary to effectively remove the food particles hidden under the wires! The risk of bacterial build-up and infections is higher in people with braces, which is why replacing the toothbrush head — be it manual or electric — every two to three months is imperative.
How To Maintain Your Toothbrush Heads
Toothbrushes do not last forever; however, you can prolong their longevity by taking a few simple steps after each brush:
- Allow your toothbrush to air-dry in an upright position before storing it in a closed container. This step will delay the build-up of bacteria and prevent mold growth in the bristles.
- Keep your toothbrush away from touching other toothbrushes.
- Never, absolutely never share your toothbrush (not even with a family member)!
- Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush head with hot water after each use. Do not use mouthwash, soap, or other disinfectants in the process.
Unsure How To Appropriately Brush Your Teeth? Patuxent Orthodontics Can Help!
Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if orthodontic treatment is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of our orthodontic services or simply have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a free consultation! Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in California, Lexington Park, and Great Mills and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in MD, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!