Do you know when you replaced your toothbrush? Are you aware of how often you should be replacing your toothbrush? Continue reading to find out exactly that! This article will explore how often you should replace your toothbrush and the potential risks involved.

Replacing your toothbrush is as important as throwing out expired foods that have seen better days. Let’s put it this way – you would not eat expired food because it could make you ill.  But why do we then continue brushing our teeth that have a build-up of oral bacteria?

Here are some important ways to help look after your oral hygiene at home, starting with replacing your toothbrush.

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Replace Your Toothbrush

The American Dental Association (ADA), as well as most dentists you would ask, would recommend you replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Over 3 months, your toothbrush will develop signs of normal wear and tear. When toothbrushes show these signs, they become far less effective than when they were new. As a result, your old toothbrush will no longer be able to effectively remove plaque.

There have been studies carried out on this very topic, to find a solution for how often you should replace your toothbrush. The studies found that after 3 months of use, a toothbrush will start to break down. For instance, the bristles will become flattened.

Another thing to think about is the bacteria that are slowly building up on your toothbrush. As we mentioned briefly earlier, your toothbrush will slowly gather lots of oral bacteria. After all, it is cleaning the bacteria off your teeth, so it makes sense, right? This bacteria build-up could potentially lead to reinfection from colds.

But to minimize bacteria build-up there are some things you could be doing. After each use, make sure that you are rinsing your toothbrush. You should also dry your toothbrush thoroughly to help keep it healthy.

But where should you store your toothbrushes? Typically, most households store their toothbrushes in the same holder. What people are not aware of is that ideally, you need to be storing toothbrushes away from each other to prevent cross-contamination of bacteria and germs. You should also store your toothbrush in an upright position away from the toilet.

When to Change Your Toothbrush?

We have found out that the best time to change your toothbrush is roughly every 3 months or so. But what if you forget how long ago you last replaced your toothbrush? No worry – here are some signs to look out for that will tell you when it is time.

  • The bristles are worn out
  • Bristles are frayed
  • Signs of mold (dark color on the toothbrush head)
  • The bristles are fanned out and flattened

Potential Risks

But what will happen if you do not change your toothbrush frequently enough? There are many risks involved if you were not to replace your toothbrush. Firstly, it is a simple basic oral hygiene practice. If the growth of bacteria and the risk of reinfection of colds is not enough reasoning, here are some further risks:

  • Damaged gums through the use of ineffective toothbrushes
  • Gingivitis, which can lead to an infection that causes teeth to fall out
  • Illness from bacteria and fungus
  • Mold growth
  • Ingestion of feces particles

The Bottom Line

Overall, replacing your toothbrush should become part of your basic oral hygiene regime. Making sure that you are replacing your toothbrush as soon as it starts showing any signs of wear and tear is vital to maintaining great oral health.

During your next dental check-up, ask for some recommendations on which toothbrushes are the best to use. Your dentist can provide some advice based on your oral health needs and dental health. Although, many dentists will often recommend their patients purchase a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent damage to teeth and gums. Also, using a fluoride toothpaste and flossing. You may also want to consider looking into an electric toothbrush, as studies have proven that they are more effective for oral health.