It’s normal for us to replace old shoes if they get worn out, or if your clothes become faded we buy new ones. But we never really think about replacing our old toothbrushes. This is bad since over time they become less effective at cleaning and can be contaminated with germs. We need to begin to learn when it’s time to switch to a new toothbrush and how to tell if you’re using one that’s past its prime.
So how often should we be changing our toothbrush? Well it all depends on your usage, oral health and personal preferences.
When to Get a New Toothbrush
Dentists suggest we should, preferably, replace our toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months, or every season. When in doubt, here are some things to look out for to know your brush need replacing:
Frayed bristles – When the bristles have frayed, they won't clean teeth as thoroughly so you probably want to go out and buy a new one.
Sickness - If you have been sick consider getting a new toothbrush sooner, as germs could linger and continue to deteriorate your health.
Children – Younger children usually brush their teeth more rigorously than adults, so think about replacing their brushes more frequently.
Maintaining Your Toothbrush
Maintaining your toothbrush in a proper manner can help extend its usefulness and it’s effectiveness at cleaning. Here’s some tips on how to look after your brush:
Rinse after use – running your toothbrush under tap water after you brush can wash away any lingering toothpaste and saliva.
Store it vertically – use pots or cups to store your toothbrushes so that they are in a vertical position allowing them to air dry between uses. Don’t use a closed container or plastic cap as this can cause bacteria to build up.
Disposables – when travelling consider using disposable toothbrushes, which you can throw away once the trip is over.
Sharing – this one is kind of obvious, but never share your toothbrush with anyone else.
Types of Toothbrushes and brushing techniques
Keeping your toothbrush clean is a major factor in your oral health, but the kind of toothbrush and techniques you use is also important.
Manual vs Electronic - Choose what makes you feels comfortable and clean. A manual toothbrush is portable and ready to use every time you need it, whereas the electric uses rotating movements of the bristles that makes it easier to clean between teeth and at the gum line. Both should be kept clean, replace the toothbrush (or electric head) every season.
Bristles – find a toothbrush that has soft nylon bristles, medium or hard bristles can actually damage your tooth enamel.
Size - use a toothbrush that has a smaller head, which allows you to easily access all areas of your mouth like behind your molars and along the rear gum line.
Brushing techniques - don’t use a back and forth scrubbing motion, instead try a soft circular motion.
Remember before you brush again, ask yourself whether it is time for a new toothbrush.