Most children learn by the time they’re in elementary school that they should brush their teeth twice every day. But many adults still have no idea how often they should replace their toothbrush.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you change your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
Bacteria Buildup. After you brush your teeth, bacteria and plaque inhabit your toothbrush. In a similar way that dirt becomes transferred to a sponge when you clean, bacteria also become transferred to toothbrushes. The longer you use a certain toothbrush, the more bacteria will take over the brush.
Worn Out Bristles. Another reason you should change your toothbrush every three months is that over time, the bristles will wear out. Worn-out bristles tend to be more abrasive on your gums, which can lead to premature gum recession and inflammation in your gums.
After Sickness. If you are dealing with a cold, flu, or other viral infection, you should change your toothbrush to avoid reinfecting yourself. Viruses and bacteria can remain in your toothbrush bristles, leading to cross-contamination into your family’s toothbrushes or reinfection. Replace your toothbrush with a new one after a cold or illness.
Signs to Replace Your Toothbrush You might need to replace your toothbrush sooner than three months. If you brush with too much pressure, you will probably notice your bristles becoming worn out before three months. As soon as you realize that your toothbrush bristles are pointing in the wrong direction or becoming worn down, replace it.
Keeping your Toothbrush Clean
Just give it a good rinse after use, then let it air dry. Don’t store your toothbrush in a small and enclosed space, as this can stimulate the growth of bacteria. If you store your toothbrush in a cup or toothbrush holder, don’t let yours touch other toothbrushes can transfer bacteria.
Don’t use cleaning agents to clean your toothbrush. This can cause more harm to your teeth and gums.
Some people try to sterilize their toothbrushes by boiling, microwaving, or washing them in a dishwasher. Exposing your toothbrush to excessive heat can warp your brush’s bristles, making them less effective at cleaning your teeth.
Of course, even if you routinely brush and floss every day, regular checkups with your dentist are a must. Your association and AMBA have Dental Plans that provide access to thousands of dentists nationwide and coverage on everything from routine dentist visits to procedures like root canals, crowns, and more. Sign up or learn more at www.AMBAdentalvision.com or call 866-979-0497.