Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, you will need to replace it periodically. Old tooth brush heads have worn out bristles that can’t adequately clean your teeth as well as a newer toothbrush and replacing your toothbrush often helps to reduce the number of germs on your toothbrush. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to replacing your toothbrush so you’ll experience more positive feedback at regular dental cleanings.
If you’ve experienced a recent illness, it is probably a good idea to replace toothbrush. The germs left behind on toothbrush bristles from a bacterial infection could lead to reinfection. It’s difficult to know how contaminated the bristles are. Even if you experienced a viral infection, it’s best to get rid of the old toothbrush in favor of a new one. There are also some over the counter toothbrush cleaners that you can try to clean and sanitize the toothbrush. Depending on how expensive the toothbrush is, it is likely more cost effective just to replace the toothbrush.
Every 3 Months
American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three months. This is a good guideline to start with. This means that you’ll only need to replace the toothbrush four times a year. However, this is just a guideline. Your specific needs may vary and you may need to replace your toothbrush head sooner.
If your toothbrush has frayed bristles, it is time to replace the toothbrush, no matter the age of the toothbrush. Frayed bristles aren’t able to adequately remove dental plaque from your teeth. It takes quite a bit of use for a toothbrush to have frayed bristles. This means that it is time for the toothbrush to be replaced.
After Falling in the Sink
Things can easily happen to a toothbrush that can compromise the cleanliness of your toothbrush. If someone else used your toothbrush or if it fell into the sink, toilet, or floor, it’s time to replace it. Even with a specialized toothbrush cleaner, it can be impossible to know if all of the germs were really removed from the toothbrush.
Signs of Wear
If your toothbrush shows and signs of wear, it is time to get a new one. This can include bent handles, faded colors, or other obvious signs that the toothbrush has been around for a while. You can buy a brand name toothbrush for around $2. If your toothbrush looks worn, you have definitely gotten your money out of it.
Replacing your toothbrush is a normal part of your oral hygiene routine. If you ever feel that your toothbrush should be replaced, it is a good idea to do so. Since toothbrushes don’t cost very much compared to how much they benefit your oral health, go ahead and replace it even more frequently than recommended if you feel that it needs to be replaced.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip-top shape, whether you need regular dental checkups or a metal filling replacement, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
If you are committed to maintaining good oral health, having fresh breath, and making sure your pearly whites stay that way, you probably brush your teeth at least twice a day, possibly more. Brushing their teeth is something most people automatically and habitually do without thinking much about it.
And, because it’s something we do in autopilot mode, many of us probably are currently brushing our teeth with worn out and possibly even contaminated toothbrushes. If you can’t remember when you last replaced your toothbrush, it’s probably time. Here are three compelling reasons to replace your toothbrush!
1: A Worn Out Toothbrush is A Less Effective Toothbrush
Arguably the most compelling reason to replace your toothbrush is because if it’s worn out, it’s not cleaning your teeth and gums as effectively as it should be. If you want to avoid the discomfort and expense of dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, and root canals, you should make an effort to replace your toothbrush (and your family’s’ toothbrushes) regularly.
Every time you brush your teeth, fibers on your toothbrush bristles wear down a tiny bit. Eventually, they become so worn that they’re not able to penetrate between the teeth where decay hides. Even if your toothbrush looks just fine, it may be worn out. Often, changes to the stiffness of your brush’s bristles are only visible under a microscope.
2: If You Have Been Sick, Your Toothbrush Could Infect You
If you have been sick, experts recommend replacing your toothbrush after you recover. It’s not likely that your toothbrush will re-infect you with the same illness you’ve recovered from. After all, when you fight an infection, your body develops antibodies that prevent you from being reinfected by the same germs.
It is possible, though, that your immune system may have been weakened by your illness, and you could pick up a different bacterial or viral infection from the germs on your toothbrush. Myriad studies have concluded that toothbrushes harbor a plethora of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and microorganisms. Change your brush regularly to avoid being caught in a cycle of sicknesses!
3: Your Toothbrush May Have Poop on It. Someone Else’s Poop.
If you’re still not convinced it’s important to switch out your toothbrush regularly, perhaps a study published by the American Society for Microbiology will change your mind.
Research analyzing the toothbrushes of college students who shared a communal bathroom found that at least 60% of the students’ toothbrushes were contaminated with fecal bacteria. To make matters worse, the study concluded there was an 80% likelihood that the bacteria on individuals’ toothbrushes came from someone else using the same bathroom.
How is that possible? Each time you flush the toilet, an invisible cloud called a “toilet plume” including aerosolized feces is forced into the air. Studies have shown microorganisms from that plume have travelled as far as sinks – and toothbrushes. Surprisingly, using toothbrush covers did not prevent fecal contamination – by keeping bristles moist longer, they actually encouraged the bacteria to multiply.
How Often is Often Enough to Replace Your Toothbrush?
When you consider all that may be lurking on your toothbrush, you may be tempted to buy them by the case and change your brush after each use. If you follow experts’ advice for caring for your toothbrush, you need not go to such extreme measures. As long as you haven’t been sick, most dentists agree that changing your toothbrush every three months is reasonable.
The reason most people fail to replace their toothbrushes as directed is because they simply forget to do it. Some manual brushes and automatic toothbrush heads are designed with bristles that fade in color to signal when it’s time to replace. You can also remember to replace your brush by setting a reminder in your cellphone calendar. Or, simply try to remember to change your toothbrush about as often as the seasons change.
Additional Toothbrush Best Practices
While there is no way to keep your brush entirely germ free, you can take steps to discourage bacteria from multiplying. After you brush, rinse your toothbrush with water and shake it vigorously. Allow it to dry out between uses, ideally by storing it upright. If possible, store your toothbrush in an enclosed cabinet. Additionally, never share your toothbrush with anyone and make sure its bristles don’t come in contact with the bristles of another toothbrush when you store it.
If you want to make certain that your toothbrush is doing its job effectively and reduce the likelihood it will make you sick, your toothbrush-replacement rule of thumb should be, “When in doubt, switch it out.” After all, manual toothbrushes and even replacement brush heads for fancy automatic toothbrushes are inexpensive. There’s simply no need to be brushing with a worn out or contaminated toothbrush.