As any Whitby dentist will tell you, replacing your toothbrush regularly is important. It’s really a matter of efficacy rather than of health. Although there are a lot of germs that live on your toothbrush, they will not cause you any harm as long as you use scientifically formulated toothpastes (which kill germs), and allow your toothbrush to dry out fully after you use it.
However, the longer you use your toothbrush, the more splayed and frayed the bristles become: and the less effective they are at cleaning your teeth. So how often should you replace them? Read on for our expert advice.
1 You’ve owned it longer than four months
The American Dental Association recommends you buy a new toothbrush every three to four months. Pick up a new toothbrush after every professional cleaning, and put a note on your calendar to remind you to upgrade your toothbrush between dental visits.
2 Bristles show signs of wear
If the bristles on your brush splay out in every direction, they won’t be able to get between and around your teeth effectively. When this happens, you should replace the brush. This may happen within less than three months if you brush particularly hard (which children tend to do). You should also replace the brush if the bristles become discoloured.
3 You’ve been sick
If you clean your teeth when you’re ill (which you should!) you’ll end up with all sorts of germs on your brush. Once you’re well again, change your brush to throw all those germs away and avoid reinfection. A diagnosis of gum disease is also a sign that you need a new brush.
4. Your toothbrush is contaminated
The bacteria from your own mouth may be harmless to you – but that doesn’t mean you want to take your chances with anyone else’s germs. If you share a bathroom, particularly as part of a family with small children, it’s not unusual for someone to borrow your brush by mistake. If anyone else uses your toothbrush, or if your toothbrush even touches another one belonging to someone else, it’s time for a change.
5. Your toothbrush hasn’t been stored properly
It is important to make sure your toothbrush dries out thoroughly after use. Is your bathroom a steamy environment? Are you keeping your brush in a warm, moist place such as inside a drawer or container? If so, change out your brush sooner. Pick up a brand new toothbrush and store it where it can get some air.
6. There is debris on your toothbrush
If it sounds disgusting even to read it, do you really want it in your mouth? Check the bottom of your toothbrush bristles regularly: if there is any kind of debris on there that cannot easily be removed, treat yourself to a new toothbrush right away.
Regular brushing with an effective, hygienic toothbrush will keep most tooth and gum problems at bay. But don’t forget you also need regular visits to the dentist. Call DentalZen for an appointment today.