You must change your toothbrush regularly, which is actually a rule of good oral hygiene. You may have noticed that the bristles flex over time. Understandably, toothbrushes with curved bristles are less effective at cleaning teeth.
However, if you don’t pay attention to your oral hygiene habits, you may realize it’s been more than three months since you changed your toothbrush. Or maybe you just don’t believe it makes a difference.
Take a closer look at why Dr. AIWO recommends changing your toothbrush every three or four months.
Over time, your toothbrush will appear visibly worn and the curved bristles lose their stiffness. You may not even be aware of these changes in the appearance of your toothbrush unless you look closely. This is important because the bristles of the toothbrush are designed to gently and effectively clean the gums. As the bristles wear out, they wear down the gums more.
It might seem like a small inconvenience, but it could be worse than that. If you use a toothbrush with worn bristles for extended periods of time, the abrasiveness can cause gum inflammation. This, in turn, can lead to premature recession of the gums.
In addition to the general wear of the toothbrush bristles, the angle of the bristles is also important. You want the bristles to be in an upright position so they can clean your teeth properly
Another major reason for not using a toothbrush for more than three or four months is bacterial buildup. You know that part of the goal of brushing is to remove food, plaque and bacteria. Well, when you brush, bacteria transfer to your toothbrush. Unfortunately, bacteria are usually invisible to the naked eye, so you’re unlikely to notice a buildup.
Best of all, if you use the same toothbrush for longer, you will transfer more bacteria to it. This is not good because bacteria can multiply and transfer back into your mouth. Given that certain types of bacteria have been linked to gum disease and other oral health problems, you really don’t want to take that risk.
Your toothbrush won’t last long
A good reason to buy a new toothbrush is that your existing toothbrush has reached the end of its lifespan. At some point, your toothbrush will no longer effectively clean your teeth, gums, and tongue. Its bristles will soften and its head may be chewed, making it more difficult to move around your mouth.
Even manufacturer guidelines say toothbrushes should be replaced every 12 to 16 weeks. By marking the correct month on your calendar, you can more easily keep track of your toothbrush replacement schedule. Dr. Aiwo also recommends setting reminders on your phone for added convenience. When you need to replace your toothbrush ASAP
While changing your toothbrush every three or four months is ideal, in some cases, Dr. AIWO recommends getting a new toothbrush as soon as possible.
you have recovered from an illness
Bacteria aren’t the only microorganisms that can stay on your toothbrush. Viruses can grab those bristles just fine. Therefore, you should always change your toothbrush after contracting a virus, such as a cold or the flu.
Failure to replace your toothbrush after such an illness puts you at risk of reinfection. Remember, bacteria and viruses from disease can get on your toothbrush and transfer back to your mouth.
This is especially important if you store your toothbrush next to toothbrushes owned by other members of the household. Depending on how you store your toothbrush, bacteria and viruses can even move between toothbrushes and infect your family.
Your toothbrush is exposed to unsanitary conditions
It’s best to keep your toothbrush in a safe place and keep it as clean as possible. However, in some cases, your toothbrush can be inadvertently exposed to unsanitary conditions. For example, one morning you may find your toothbrush is leaning against another toothbrush. Rather than risk introducing foreign bacteria into your mouth, replace your toothbrush.
Tips for Keeping Your Toothbrush Clean
Keeping your toothbrush clean is a very simple process. However, there are some things you may not realize you should be doing.
1.Don’t try to sanitize your toothbrush
If you drop your toothbrush on the floor or get sick, you might try to sanitize it rather than replace it. The bad news is that there is no effective way to sanitize your toothbrush after such an event. Disinfecting your toothbrush with a detergent may be successful in eliminating bacteria, but the detergent itself may harm your gums and teeth.
How about putting your toothbrush in the dishwasher, microwave or boiling water? This can deform the bristles on the toothbrush. As we’ve already established, curved bristles won’t clean your teeth effectively.
2.Rinse and air dry after use
After using your toothbrush, make sure to rinse it off before air-drying.
3.Store it in an open area and away from other toothbrushes
You don’t want to store your toothbrush in an enclosed space. This will promote bacterial growth.
If you store your toothbrush in a holder or some kind of cup, make sure it doesn’t accidentally come into contact with someone else’s toothbrush. Keep in mind that this can cause bacteria to move between brushes.
What about children’s toothbrushes?
For your child’s toothbrush, it’s wise to replace them more frequently than every three or four months. At least, stick to the shorter range. That’s because younger kids are more prone to biting their heads and messing up the bristles. They also have a higher risk of exposing the brush to other bacteria if you turn around for a few minutes.
How to clean an electric toothbrush?
All of the above advice applies to electric toothbrush heads just as they apply to manual toothbrushes. After all, the brush heads are pretty much the same in design. As with regular toothbrushes, it’s best to replace the brush head of an electric toothbrush every 12 weeks or so.
Takeaway: The Importance of Getting a New Toothbrush When You Need It
At some point, your toothbrush will no longer be used to clean your teeth, gums and tongue. Your toothbrush may need to be replaced every three to four months, barring any event, such as illness or exposure to unsanitary conditions.
Every time you get a new toothbrush, make a note on your calendar. In this way, you can track the lifespan of your toothbrush and remind you when it’s time to buy a new one.
2.How to disinfect toothbrush after strep?
You use your toothbrush to thoroughly clean your mouth every day, but should you disinfect your toothbrush regularly? Does sanitizing your toothbrush help prevent the spread of a cold or flu? Is disinfection really necessary, or is just rinsing the brush enough?
A breeding ground for bacteria?
It’s a bit disconcerting, but the tools you use to clean your mouth twice a day can actually become a breeding ground for bacteria too. That’s because some of the bacteria you remove from your mouth by brushing may remain on the brush even after you rinse it off with water. Bacteria and viruses that can cause colds and flu can grow on your toothbrush, which is why some experts recommend disinfecting your toothbrush only once a week, just in case.
However, the American Dental Association (ADA) has determined that there really isn’t enough clinical evidence that bacteria that may grow on toothbrushes cause systemic or oral health problems. Therefore, according to the ADA, there is no need to spend time sanitizing toothbrushes, and there are no commercial products on the market that fully sanitize toothbrushes.
But in addition to naturally occurring bacteria, you can also carry other bacteria when you are sick. In this case, you should sanitize your toothbrush. Such as colds, sore throats, etc., because the research surface cold germs and pharyngitis germs can spread rapidly from person to person through toothbrushes. And these viruses can live on a toothbrush for hours to days.
The first step to reducing bacteria on your toothbrush
It starts with understanding how bacteria grow on your toothbrush. How do bacteria survive on brushes? Well, bacteria prefer damp, dark, and warm environments, so if you store your brushes in an airtight container, or keep them covered, there’s a good chance there’s more bacteria on them. As an alternative, you can place the toothbrush upright on the stand and allow the bristles to air dry completely. It also helps to make sure the bristles don’t come in contact with other toothbrushes.
Disinfect your toothbrush in a few easy steps
Now that you know how to properly store your toothbrush, here are some other steps you can take to clean your toothbrush between replacements (ideally every three to four months):
Rinse the brush thoroughly with lukewarm or hot water before and after each brushing. Do not rush this step; otherwise, food particles may remain in the bristles and cause bacterial growth. Total! In fact, you can even move the bristles with your fingers to actually get the water in there, rinsing off debris and excess toothpaste.
Put some antibacterial mouthwash in a small cup so you can soak your toothbrush in it for about 15 minutes (any more and you may damage the bristles). If you don’t want to use mouthwash, you can also try hydrogen peroxide. Discard (do not reuse) the cleaning solution after the brush has been soaked.
Put the toothbrush in boiling water for about three minutes. Note that even though hot water can help kill bacteria, it may cause some damage to the brush itself.
Tip: You may have heard that you can sterilize your toothbrush by putting it in the microwave, dishwasher, or special device that shines UV light on the bristles. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend these strategies because they may cause too much damage to the brush.
Bonus tip: If you have an infectious disease, or your immune system is compromised, you may choose to disinfect and replace your toothbrush more frequently than usual.
Toothbrush cleaning + professional cleaning = healthy mouth!
Sanitizing your toothbrush might be a good idea, but you don’t have to overuse it. Whether you use a regular or electric toothbrush, a few simple and affordable tips will help you keep those bristles clean. When you disinfect your toothbrush weekly and see your dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups, you can rest assured that you’re doing everything you can to keep your mouth healthy.
If you really don’t want to waste time sanitizing your toothbrush, it’s easier to just replace it, a regular manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head is less expensive and allows you to do that.