We easily find out the right time to replace our clothes, shoes, and other daily-life accessories. When it comes to a toothbrush, people make a common mistake by using the same toothbrush for over a year. If you are a dental professional like me, admit it, you just cringed at the mere thought of that.
But it happens more often than we would like to think. Because we (hopefully) use our toothbrush so much, it becomes a little difficult to determine when is the right time to replace it. So just how often should you replace your toothbrush? Or in the case of an electric toothbrush, how often should you replace your electric toothbrush head?
When to Get a New Toothbrush?
Dentist recommend replacing a toothbrush every 3 months in normal circumstances. A good tip to remember to change your toothbrush is to set an alarm in your phone to the first of every month.
If you want one less thing to remember, I personally recommend using an easy subscription toothbrush replacement service.
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Okay back to the post…
If you have been sick or developed strep throat, you should replace your toothbrush even sooner. Sick germs can live on toothbrushes. If you develop strep throat, replace the toothbrush after the first day on the antibiotic, then again on day 3 and again after completion of antibiotics. This will hopefully ensure you do not get strep again from your toothbrush.
If you have an electric toothbrush, you should replace your toothbrush head every 3 months as well. You should change it sooner if you notice the bristles are splayed or not looking like they originally did. This can cause your to not be removing plaque efficiently.
Overall, whether you have an electric or manual toothbrush, never forget to replace it every three months under normal conditions.
5 Signs Your Toothbrush Needs Replacement
For a better assessment, here are 5 signs to replace your toothbrush for better oral health:
- Frayed Bristles
Are the bristles of your toothbrush straight and hard? If they seem frayed, bent over, crooked, or damaged, or show considerate wear & tear, now is the right time to change replace your toothbrush. Frayed bristles not only damaged your gums but they are also unable to clean the teeth to the best potential.
- Debris Under Bristles
You probably (again… hopefully) brush your teeth twice a day – or at least once daily. This means a normal toothbrush is washed each day. But if there are still some debris at the bottom of bristles and they can’t be removed by washing, your toothbrush is aged and needs a replacement.
- Health Conditions
Even if it was less than a month ago when you bought a new toothbrush, if you’ve been sick, consider replacing it again.
This is because toothbrush may have caught infection when you were sick and re-infect you each time you brush your teeth.
- Contact with Another Toothbrush
Toothbrushes are personal and they shouldn’t touch each other. But if you have children, sometimes you can’t help but find your toothbrush head directly in contact with another one. If so, it’s the right time for a toothbrush replacement. Different people have different transmittable germs in their mouth which can also transfer toothbrush to toothbrush.
- Adequate Storage
After brushing your teeth, a toothbrush needs to breathe and get dry for bacteria & germs to die. If you’ve been placing your toothbrush in a drawer or container, it’s time for a replacement. And from now on, make sure to store them in open.
Overall, brushing your teeth regularly is one of the key steps to oral health. Make sure to change your toothbrush every 3 months or less in case you notice any of the above-mentioned signs.
Kelly Hancock, RDH