The average person changes their toothbrush about two times each year. This is half the typical recommendation, which is to change your tooth brush (or brush head, if you use a Sonicare or similar) no less than four times per year. This is significant because a worn toothbrush simply can’t clean your mouth as effectively as a new brush, and older brushes will begin to harbour bacteria.
To avoid this, there are a few simple tips that you can follow to keep your mouth and toothbrush clean.
Bristles Bending? Change Your Brush
At a minimum, your toothbrush or brush head should be changed when the bristles begin to look frayed and spread apart. If you have a heavy brushing hand, you may need to change your toothbrush more frequently. Children will likely need their toothbrush replaced more frequently, too as they can be notorious for brushing too hard.
After this period of normal wear and tear on your brush, the bristles begin to break down and move apart making the brush less effective in getting all the plaque off of your teeth. It also makes your toothbrush unable to get along the gum line and hard-to-reach-places as effectively as a new brush.
Been Sick? Change Your Brush
Another good time to change your tooth brush or brush head is after an illness such as a cold, flu, sore throat, or a mouth infection. Germs are able to hide in your toothbrush and lead to you catching the illness again, or even spreading. Speaking of bacteria, a toothbrush is an excellent place for bacteria growth to occur. A single toothbrush has been found to hold as many as ten million germs and bacteria. These bacteria are not a big threat to your teeth or overall health, but a good reason to take proper care of your tooth brush.
Set Up Reminders – Or Pay Attention To Your Brush
So what are some ways that can help you remember to change your toothbrush? Many brushes now have indicators. The indicator is on the bristle, and the bristle begins to change colours to alert you when it is time to change your toothbrush.
You can also write a reminder in your planner, or save an alert on your phone. You could also use your dentist appointment as a reminder, and change it mid-way between your next cleaning – which only works if you get your checkups regularly at six month intervals.
There are also ways to help take care of your toothbrush. The number one way is to always allow it to dry out completely between brushings. This will help prevent bacteria growth. You should avoid storing toothbrushes together, as this is a great way to prevent cross contamination. Avoid using hot water to clean your toothbrush as this shortens the lifespan of the bristles, and always store them upright.
The benefits of changing your toothbrush and learning the proper care techniques can’t be stressed enough. Studies have found that a new toothbrush removes up to thirty percent more plaque than one that is three months old. Keeping your old toothbrush can lead to ineffective cleaning and even tooth decay. So remember to change after illness, frayed bristles, or every three months to keep your smile healthy!