Why Should You Buy a New Toothbrush?
We talk a lot about the importance of good oral health and that includes brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist on the regular. Let’s take a deeper dive into brushing, more specifically, the tool you’re using to brush those pearly whites.
You might ask yourself, “when’s the last time I changed out my toothbrush?”
We toss old food, donate clothes, replace beauty products, etc., but adding a change into your routine to buy a new toothbrush will have a bigger affect than you might think.
Related Article from The ADA: 8 Bad Brushing Habits to Break in 2022
Your Toothbrush Isn’t Going to Last Forever!
Most of us know our toothbrushes aren’t going to last forever. But it can be hard to figure out when our beloved bristles are nearing the end of their natural lifespan and you need to buy a new toothbrush. You may be surprised to find out that according to manufacturer guidelines and dentist recommendations, your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 to 4 months.
There are also cases when you might need to replace your toothbrush sooner. If you don’t replace a toothbrush or electronic toothbrush head when it needs to be, it can affect your dental health and spread infection.
When Do You Need to Make the Change?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it’s recommended to replace your toothbrush (or brush head on an electric toothbrush) every three months – that’s right, toothbrushes have a shelf life of only three months. The longer you use a toothbrush, the less effective it is. Normal wear and tear from brushing break down the bristles and won’t remove plaque and bacteria very well.
Your toothbrush is your first line of defense against the bacteria that cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.
Straight bristles and a clean and easy-to-grip handle are best to navigate the smaller spaces in your mouth. A soft bristle brush will effectively remove old food and bacteria that can collect around the bases of your teeth.
Here’s a few other things to consider:
- Don’t forget to watch your child when they’re brushing their teeth to make sure they aren’t exposing their brush head to any other surface besides their teeth.
- Germs build up in toothbrushes.
- Viral and bacterial infections such as strep throat are of particular concern and are a good reason to switch your old toothbrush for a new one.
- If you or a member of your family has been sick, replace your toothbrush so you don’t risk reinfection for everyone in your household.
- If anyone else uses your toothbrush by mistake, get rid of it. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and everyone’s mouth harbors different bacteria than yours.
- Fungus and bacteria can develop – make sure to let your toothbrush dry completely after every brush and store upright and uncovered.
- If the bristles look frayed, fan out, or look dark, it’s definitely time to replace.
Related Article: Boost Your Immune System thru Oral Care and Gum Health
Electric toothbrush heads clean the surface area of your teeth by quickly rotating or vibrating. These toothbrush heads still have nylon bristles that can wear after regular use. What’s more, those bristles are shorter, which means that they may fray more quickly. Plan to change out the toothbrush head on your electronic toothbrush every 12 weeks, or even earlier. Watch for signs of wear and tear on the bristles to know when it’s time to say goodbye to a brush head.
How to Take Care of Your Toothbrush
To make the most out of your toothbrush, take care of it the way you would any personal grooming or hygiene tool.
Here are some simple tips:
- Don’t share your toothbrush with someone else, even members of your immediate family.
- If your toothbrush is stored in a cup or container with other toothbrushes, try not to let the heads touch each other.
- After brushing, rinse your toothbrush completely with tap water.
- You don’t need to use a disinfectant, mouthwash, or hot water to sanitize it. Trying to “sanitize” a toothbrush in this way can actually spread germs.
- You also don’t need a special closed container to keep your toothbrush clean when it’s not in use. Some of these containers can encourage mold growth or spread bacteria.
The Risk of Not Replacing Your Toothbrush
Let’s say the risk of bacteria, mold, and fungus aren’t enough to make you replace your toothbrush, there are also numerous other risks to not replacing.
Gum Damage: Old toothbrushes don’t clean gums well, leading to a higher risk of gum disease, which, left untreated, can lead to infection and losing tooth altogether. Related Article: Can a Simple Cavity Turn into Gum Disease?
Getting Sick: You can actually get sick from overused toothbrushes. Your toothbrush can grow mold or even unwanted fecal particles (if near a toilet).
We know that you’ve been brushing your teeth longer than you can remember, but are you using the Proper Brushing Technique? Review your skills by watching this short video!
What to Consider When it’s Time to Replace Your Toothbrush
Feel free to ask us during your dental checkup if we have any recommendations for the best toothbrush for you. In the meantime, look for soft bristles, a head size that can touch one or two teeth at a time, and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Also consider adding a mouthwash to your routine to further fight any bacteria and plaque, and don’t forget your favorite floss! You can also consider investing in an electric toothbrush or electric water flosser, which can improve oral health beyond regular toothbrush and floss.
Related Article: Why is it important to schedule your dental exam twice each year?
Make Brushing FUN for Your Kiddos!
Replacing their toothbrushes more often may make them take better care of their teeth. Colorful toothbrushes and ones with popular characters can get them to want to brush more often and for longer periods of time. Take them shopping to pick out the perfect one. Toothbrushes can also be birthday party favors, Halloween treats, and stocking stuffers. Make dental hygiene fun for your kiddos!
Protecting Your Oral Health
By protecting the health of your teeth and gums, you can keep yourself healthier too. Practice good oral hygiene daily to prevent overgrowth of oral bacteria.
- Brushing your teeth at least twice per day
- Floss daily to remove plaque between teeth
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months
- Avoid tobacco use, as this can cause irritation in your gums
- Limit sugary snacks, which can feed bacteria and increase their growth
Prevention is Key and WE Can Help!
The best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is to follow a program of good oral hygiene, one that you begin early and practice consistently throughout life.
Good oral hygiene. That means brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily — in the morning and before going to bed — and flossing at least once a day. Flossing before you brush allows you to clean away the loosened food particles and bacteria. Good oral hygiene prevents the development of an environment around your teeth that is favorable to specific bacteria that cause periodontal disease.
Regular dental visits. See your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for cleanings, usually every six months. If you have risk factors that increase your chance of developing gum disease — such as having dry mouth, taking certain medications, or smoking — you may need professional cleaning more often.
Let’s Recap What We’ve Learned
Your toothbrush is an important oral hygiene tool. To maintain your toothbrush and make the most of its lifespan, use only your own toothbrush and store it upright and let it air dry.
Plan to replace the toothbrushes of every person in your family every 3 to 4 months and mark your calendar on the date of the purchase so you remember when it’s time to buy a new toothbrush again.
If you notice a problem with your teeth or gums, call for an appointment right away. The sooner these are handled, the sooner you will be back to full health. Our highly skilled and gentle dentists provide general and family dentistry in the San Antonio area to keep our patients healthy – including healthy teeth, healthy gums, and a healthy body. Time for your checkup? Call to schedule today and remember to replace your toothbrush!
Keep Your Smile Healthy at GPS Dental and Buy a New Toothbrush!
You can boost your immune system by keeping a healthy mouth. That’s why our expert team at GPS Dental strives to educate our patients on healthy habits that can do more than keep your smile bright. That’s why it’s always important to buy a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months and see Dr. Skrobanek every 6 months for proper checkups at GPS Dental, so your he can check for all the signs of a healthy mouth. A healthy mouth, teeth and gums has all the makings for a beautiful smile!
Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek is a dental implant dentist and his experienced, friendly team at GPS Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implants, sleep apnea, TMJ / TMD Treatment, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.