Cleaning your teeth effectively and regularly is important for maintaining good oral health. How often should you be replacing your toothbrush, though? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend you change your brush at least every 3 to 4 months.
Why Do You Need To Change Your Toothbrush Regularly?
Replacing your toothbrush regularly is important for its effectiveness and to stop the spread of bacteria. Your mouth and your environment, in general, are full of bacteria that contaminate your toothbrush. Over time, they can build up — even if you are washing your toothbrush properly. So, replacing your brush regularly will help stop the spread.
A study by scientists at Manchester University in England showed that your toothbrush can have more than 100 million bacteria lurking in it. Some of them include Staphylococcus (Staph) and E.coli.
Our bodies are mostly able to fight off most bacteria, but preventing toothbrush contamination is recommended, especially if you are immunocompromised.
Over time, the bristles on your toothbrush can start to splay and lose their stiffness. This makes them less effective at removing debris and build up on your teeth.
Like manual toothbrushes, electric brush heads also have bristles that can wear down after regular use. They are also a lot shorter than manual bristles. So, they can become frayed more quickly.
How Can You Keep Your Toothbrush in Good Condition?
There are some steps you can take to keep your toothbrush in good shape before you replace it. Consider the following tips.
- Never share toothbrushes. This can quickly cause bacteria and infections to spread.
- Wash or sanitize your hands before toothbrushing.
- Thoroughly rinse your manual brush with water — including the handle — after every use. Let it air dry. Then, store it in an upright position. Don’t let any toothbrushes touch each other because this can also cause bacteria to spread. Also, don’t store toothbrushes in closed containers as this can cause bacterial growth.
- If you have an electric toothbrush, detach the head from the handle and rinse. Wipe down your handle and charging base. Make sure it is unplugged when you do so.
- If you have been sick, have had oral thrush or mouth ulcers, then replace your brush immediately.
- Make sure you are using the correct pressure when cleaning your teeth. Too much pressure can not only damage your teeth but can make the toothbrush bristles splay quicker. Electric toothbrushes are recommended because you can not brush too hard with them. They cut off when the pressure on the teeth is too much.
Looking After Your Oral Health
It is important that in addition to brushing at least twice per day and regularly changing your toothbrush, you attend routine checkups with your dentist. Dental examinations ensure that your teeth and gums are kept in great shape. Prevention is key and your dentist can advise you on how to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. At West Coast Dental, we also provide you with a free toothbrush at your appointment. Knowing how often you should brush your teeth might also be helpful.
You can book an appointment today to fit your schedule, and we can advise you on all of your tooth brushing needs. Currently, you will also receive 10% off your treatment if it’s your first visit. You can find our dentists in Van Nuys, Torrance, Whittier, and throughout the rest of Los Angeles.
Mayo Clinic – Staph Infections
Mayo Clinic – E. coli
Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Use & Handling of Toothbrushes