If you’re practicing good oral hygiene, then you are probably brushing your teeth twice a day, every day, for two minutes at a time. However, far too many people forget they need to change their toothbrushes regularly too. Nothing flies in the face of healthy teeth more than using a toothbrush with a build-up of bacteria on it.
How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?
Experts generally agree that you should be replacing your brush every three months or so. This is about more than just the old one getting dirty – the bristles are worn away over time, even if you can’t see it, so the brush slowly becomes less effective. They might change their shape or even fall out. Regardless, you would not have the same brushing experience as you once did, and you will struggle to clean your teeth as effectively even if it feels the same.
Compounding this, any bacteria or germs which you clean from your teeth can remain on your toothbrush. This can be alleviated by washing it, but over time there will be an unavoidable build-up. This can be worsened if you don’t properly clean your toothbrush of residual toothpaste where the plaque collects.
How Do You Know Your Toothbrush is Ready to be Replaced?
If you inspect your toothbrush and see it has frayed bristles and paste residue, it’s time for a replacement, no matter how long you have been using it. You can help your toothbrush reach its maximum lifespan by being diligent in looking after it, not biting on the head, and making sure it’s stored in a dry place to prevent the formation of bacteria.
Sometimes, you may need to throw out your toothbrushes and replace them. For example, if someone in the house has recently been ill, it might even be worth replacing all of the brushes to avoid cross-contamination in the future or even the present. The same can be said if someone accidentally uses your toothbrush; it may not be the end of the world, but it could be helpful to have a spare just in case.
What About Electric Toothbrushes?
Electric toothbrushes operate under different rules depending on the manufacturer, but you may feel tempted to use your current model for as long as you can to avoid buying a new one. The friction of electric brushes can do more to wear away the bristles, so some may need to be replaced more frequently than normal brushes.
If you have a separate toothbrush, perhaps for work trips or at a second home, then you won’t need to replace this as much – if you are using it much less than your regular brush, then it will last a lot longer. However, you still can’t neglect the brush and will benefit from changing it roughly every six months, based on how much you use it.