When Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

February 20, 2012

A survey by Colgate-Palmolive revealed that many Americans replace their toothbrushes about every nine months. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, but special circumstances may require you to toss it sooner. Replacing your brush on time will help keep your mouth clean and healthy. Ask Dr. Greenfield if your toothbrush care is effectively cleaning your mouth.

The Three-Month Rule

The standard rule is to replace your toothbrush every three months. When you brush, the bacteria from your mouth are transferred to your toothbrush. Although you should thoroughly rinse your brush after using it, bacteria can still build up on the bristles and handle. Chances are you currently store your toothbrush in a warm, moist environment—which encourages bacterial and fungal growth. The three-month time frame will help keep your brush, and therefore your mouth, fresh and clean.

Frayed Bristles

You need to keep your toothbrush bristles strong to effectively scrub away plaque and bacteria. Over time, the bristles on your brush will become worn out. If you scrub too hard or bite down on your brush, you could damage the bristles sooner than everyday wear. When the bristles become frayed, they are weaker and bend easily, so they won’t be able to clean as effectively. Additionally, your toothbrush bristles should be soft and gentle to keep your mouth comfortable. Worn-out bristles can become rough and irritate your gums or scrape off tooth enamel. If your toothbrush bristles look frayed or damaged, even if it hasn’t been three months, toss the brush and start over with a new one.

After Infection

If you’ve been sick or had an oral infection, you should replace your toothbrush immediately after recovering. Your ill germs can build up on your brush while you’re sick and re-infect your mouth when you’re healthy.

Taking proper care of your toothbrush will help protect your mouth. If you need help with brushing and oral hygiene, Dr. Greenfield can show you how to do it properly. Contact Lake Orion Family Dentistry in Lake Orion, Michigan, at (248) 693-6213 to request an appointment. We welcome patients from Lake Orion, Oxford, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, and the surrounding communities.

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