Think about the last time you changed your toothbrush. Can’t remember? Then it is time for a fresh toothbrush! We clean out cabinets of expired medicine and beauty products, but often, we neglect our oral hygiene products.
To ensure your toothbrush is safe to use, there are some best practices you should incorporate into your routine.
When to Replace Your Toothbrush
At South Hills Dental Arts, we recommend that you change your toothbrush at least every three months. This is also the recommendation of the American Dental Association (ADA). As you use your toothbrush, it becomes less effective, meaning it will not remove plaque from your teeth and gums as well as it did when it was new.
It has been found that around three months, the bristles of your toothbrush will begin to break down and become less efficient at removing plaque. If you’ve lost track of how long you’ve been using your current toothbrush, look at the bristles for signs of fanning out, fraying, and wear.
You also want to replace your toothbrush after you’ve had a virus such as a cold. Germs can hide in the bristles of your toothbrush, which could cause you to get sick again.
Consequences of Not Changing Your Toothbrush
Changing your toothbrush regularly is a critical part of your oral hygiene routine. In addition to the buildup of bacteria and fungus in the bristles of your toothbrush, other risks of not changing your toothbrush include:
Gum damage from frayed or fanned-out bristles.
Ineffective plaque removal, leading to issue like gingivitis or cavities.
Sickness caught from overused toothbrushes due to fungus/bacteria buildup.
Your toothbrush can also grow mold. This will present itself as dark color changes in the bristles. You should immediately throw out your toothbrush if it shows signs of mold growth.
Caring for Your Toothbrush
To prevent the buildup of fungus and bacteria in your toothbrush bristles, you need to take proper care of your toothbrush. After brushing your teeth, rinse your toothbrush off and be sure to dry it thoroughly. Store it upright and away from other toothbrushes to avoid contamination. When traveling, utilize a plastic bag or a toothbrush cover to keep your toothbrush free of germs.
Choosing the Right Toothbrush
We recommend you look for a toothbrush with soft bristles. Harder bristles can cause tooth and gum damage. You also want to look for a toothbrush with a head that can touch one or two teeth at a time. You may also want to consider getting an electric toothbrush. These perform better at improving your oral health by removing plaque, eliminating staining, and reducing the risk of gingivitis compared to a manual toothbrush.
You can also ask your dentist for recommendations to ensure you get the best toothbrush for your oral hygiene needs. Ask about the best toothbrushes at your next appointment with South Hill Dental Arts.