It’s common knowledge that our toothbrushes aren’t engineered to last forever. But this begs the question; when is it time to change your toothbrush? It can be hard to figure out, after all, we throw out expired food and replace beauty products – mainly because of the expiry dates being displayed on these products. Well, you might be surprised to find out that there are manufacturer guidelines and dentist recommendations to help you along the way.
When To Change Your Toothbrush
Most dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush every 12 weeks or 3 months. As you make use of your toothbrush (at least twice daily), it will go through normal wear and tear, leaving it less effective at removing plaque from teeth and gums with every use.
Germs can hide and build up in toothbrush bristles. This makes it important to replace your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold, or risk possible reinfection.
Bacteria and fungus can develop in the bristles if you do not take proper care.
After each use, it’s important to make sure you rinse off and dry your toothbrush thoroughly. You should also store it uncovered, in an upright position, 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 colour changes, which is a sign of mould.
What Happens If I Don’t Change My Toothbrush Often Enough?
Apart from bacteria and fungus build-up on your toothbrush bristles over time, there are also a number of other risks and uninviting issues involved with not replacing your toothbrush.
There can be significant damage to your gums as an old toothbrush becomes more ineffective when removing plaque from your teeth. This can lead to gingivitis and if left untreated, will lead to infection (which can cause teeth to fall out).
As a direct effect of the bacteria and fungus build-up, you can get sick from an overused or old toothbrush. Your toothbrush can grow mould, or possibly the least appealing, you can ingest unwanted particles if stored near a toilet – which is usually the case with smaller bathrooms.
What To Consider When Shopping for Dental Products
Ask your dentist during your next dental checkup and cleaning for recommendations about what you should be buying based on your individual needs, your particular dental health state, etc.
Some common suggestions among dental professionals are to:
- look for toothbrushes with soft bristles, as hard bristles damage your teeth and gums
- choose a toothbrush head size that touches one or two teeth at a time
- use approved toothpaste that contains fluoride
- consider using mouthwash to further fight plaque and gingivitis,
- Floss after brushing
- invest in an electric toothbrush, as these have been proven to improve oral health beyond what a manual toothbrush can do by removing plaque, reducing gingivitis, and eliminating teeth staining.
- They’ve also been shown to minimize the amount of plaque on the teeth of people with periodontal disease.
Do your research on what products fit your needs best, and don’t forget to ask your dentist for recommendations.