If you are practicing a good oral hygiene routine, you are brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day as well as flossing. This means that you’re being diligent in keeping your teeth clean and eliminating as much plaque and bacteria as possible. As part of this endeavor, it’s important that you not neglect the condition of your toothbrush. Oftentimes, we forget about replacing our toothbrushes regularly but this is a crucial piece of practicing a complete oral hygiene program. So, when should you replace a toothbrush?

A Toothbrush In Good Shape

Your toothbrush is extremely important in your fight against bacteria that cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. Toothbrushes wear out. The bristles get worn and can even begin to fall out of the toothbrush after some time. One of the reasons that you should throw your toothbrush away is that the bristles lose their cleaning ability. Once the bristles become splayed, they become ineffective. Straight bristles and a handle that is clean and easy to hold are best to navigate the smaller spaces in your mouth. A soft bristle brush is best to remove food and bacteria that can collect around the bottom of your teeth and isn’t rough on your gums.

Recommended Replacement for a Toothbrush

Toothbrush manufacturers and dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush every 9 to 12 weeks (three to four months). This period of time is typically when the bristles get old and worn. If you brush your teeth more often than twice a day, your brush can wear out more frequently. Germs can remain on a toothbrush so you may want to replace your toothbrush after being sick. A virus probably won’t make you sick a second time but bacteria can linger on the bristles. If others in your household share toothpaste, the germs can transfer from the toothpaste tube to a brush and make other people sick.

Replacing an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrush heads clean the surface area of your teeth by quickly rotating or vibrating. These toothbrush heads still have nylon bristles that wear out. In addition, the bristles are short and can fray more quickly. Keep an eye out for wear on the bristles and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing an electric toothbrush. The heads tend to be more expensive than a disposable brush and you may want to prolong replacing your electric toothbrush. However, the tool won’t work efficiently if you don’t replace it within the recommended time frame.

Other Reasons to Replace a Toothbrush (Besides Wear)

Replace a toothbrush when someone in your family household is or has been sick. You may even want to replace everyone’s toothbrush in this case. Viral and bacterial infections such as strep throat are of concern and a good reason to switch out an old toothbrush for a new one.

It’s prudent to change out toothbrushes for children more often. Children are apt to lay their toothbrushes down on surfaces that aren’t sanitary or handle the brush head.

If anyone else uses your toothbrush by mistake, throw it out. Everyone’s mouth holds different bacteria than yours.

Taking Care of Your Toothbrush

To have your toothbrush last for the recommended time, take care of it. Don’t share your toothbrush with someone else, even immediate family members. If you store your toothbrush in a container with other toothbrushes, don’t let the heads touch. You don’t need a closed container to keep your brush clean when it isn’t in use. Some of these containers actually foster mold growth and spread bacteria.

See Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry

For regular dental checkups and other dental issues, see us at Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry. If you are looking for a dentist in Cary or Holly Springs, contact us. We take a wide variety of insurance plans and are currently accepting new patients. You can reach us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and our Cary, NC dentist office at (919) 467-2203. Or, you can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.