How often should you replace your toothbrush? When was the last time you changed your toothbrush? It’s not a good sign if you don’t even remember when was the last time you bought a new toothbrush and threw the old one in the garbage. We are not here to shame you but to help you understand why it’s important to replace a toothbrush regularly and how often you should do it? If you don’t remember when was the last time you replaced your toothbrush, hopefully, you will do so once you finish reading this article.
Brushing teeth at least twice a day has become a habit that we all have in modern society. You wake up and you brush your teeth and later when you get ready for bed you brush your teeth again. Part of staying healthy is the habit of cleaning your teeth at least twice a day, which is particularly important if you wear nighttime aligners. However, your toothbrush should remain clean as well. If your toothbrush is not clean, you can’t expect that the old toothbrush will polish your teeth effectively.
How often should you replace your toothbrush? According to the American Dental Association, you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months. This is in the case if you brush your teeth at least two times a day (which we hope you do). If you brush your teeth more often than two times a day than you should replace it even more often. How to remember that it’s time to change your toothbrush? Think about your toothbrush as a seasonal item. Once spring comes, it’s time to get a new toothbrush.
According to a dentist, Keith Arbeitman, once you notice your toothbrush is worn out, it’s time for a new one. Keith Arbeitman said:
“Once the bristles start to bend, you’re not really cleaning as effectively.”
Another advice from Arbeitman is to run your tongue across your teeth to check if your pearly whites are slippery more than usual. If the answer is yes then it’s time to change a toothbrush since the old one is not doing its job effectively.
You might think that this is a little ridiculous. Three months is not a long time and what bad can happen if you don’t change your toothbrush on time? According to a study from 2015, toothbrushes can become contaminated with fecal matter. This not only a disgusting thought, but it can also be a dangerous thing according to the study’s author, Lauren Aber.
Surprisingly, this is not a big deal if you live alone. The trouble is when the fecal matter belongs to someone else. Researchers explain the reason behind this is because someone else’s fecal matter:
“contains bacteria, viruses or parasites that are not part of your normal flora.”
It seems that the most logical solution is to buy a toothbrush cover, right? Not really. A toothbrush cover is not that helpful and it can even make things worse. According to Aber:
“Using a toothbrush cover doesn’t protect a toothbrush from bacterial growth, but actually creates an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the bristles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses.”
Another study from 2007 confirmed that there is not much use in toothbrush covers. How to protect your toothbrush if the cover won’t help. Just let it stand upright after use. According to Arbeitman:
“If you stand a toothbrush up and let it dry between uses, the bacteria are pretty much going to die.”
And don’t forget to change your toothbrush regularly.