Most of us know our toothbrushes aren’t meant to last forever. But it can be hard to figure out when our toothbrushes are nearing the end of their natural lifespan.
If you don’t replace a toothbrush or electronic toothbrush head when it needs to be, it can affect your dental health and spread infection.
How often should you change toothbrushes?
Straight bristles and a clean and easy-to-grip handle are best to search the smaller spaces in your mouth. A soft bristle brush will effectively remove old food and bacteria that can collect around the bases of your teeth.
If you follow the standard recommendation of brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice per day, you’re already taking steps to maintain your oral hygiene well and preventing teeth from getting damaged.
Brushing two or more times per day is still considered standard for a manual toothbrush.
Most dentists, and the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months. Overtime, toothbrushes go through normal wear and tear and become less effective with removing plaque from teeth and gums. Studies have found that around 3 months is when the bristles break down and lose effectiveness. One other consideration we don’t typically think about is that germs can hide and build up in toothbrush bristles.
Some precautions to be taken to maintain life span of toothbrush:
⦁ After use, make sure you rinse off and dry your toothbrush thoroughly, storing uncovered in an upright position and keeping it away from other used toothbrushes.
⦁ When traveling, be sure to cover your toothbrush head to protect it and reduce the spread of germs.
If you can’t remember exactly how long it’s been, pay particular attention to the condition your toothbrush head is in – whether the bristles are worn out, fan out, or frayed, or especially if you see dark color changes, which is a sign of mold.
Risk factors for using toothbrush beyond its recommended life span:
Every time you use your toothbrush, the nylon bristles are exposed to water and chemicals from your toothpaste. This makes the bristles a little weaker with each use. The bristles bend and twist into a new shape, which is known as “bristle flaring.”