How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Majority of the people wake up in the morning and reach for their toothbrushes without even checking to see if there is anything hanging from the bristles.

Most people hate waking up very early in the morning and when they do they perform tasks halfheartedly, cursing the world why it is that they have to get up so early.​

They don’t bother to check their toothbrushes to see if they are clean enough.

The assumption is usually that they are as clean as when they left them during their last brushing routine.

Well:

That is not always the case. Toothbrushes can become contaminated with several micro-organisms whenever we place them in our mouths. Many people also do not replace their toothbrushes regularly yet there are several reasons why that should be done.

Let’s dive into more details.

How often should you change your toothbrush?

Most dentists agree that you should change your toothbrush at least every three months. Usually after three months of normal wear and tear, the bristles are much less effective because they become weak.

They thus cannot remove plaque from gums and teeth as effectively as new ones would. It is assumed that most of the toothbrushes would become ineffective after three months of using.

It would then be necessary to change it and get a new one.

Like every other machine, a toothbrush will wear faster or slower depending on how you handle it. There are those who have a heavy hand and their toothbrushes are likely to wear out even before the three months period.

You are therefore required to use your judgement and decide that it is time to get a replacement.

If the bristles are no longer firm and have lost their original shape, it’s time to change your toothbrush. Don’t wait for the three-month period to run out because then you will be setting yourself up for mouth infection and other conditions associated with not properly cleaning the mouth.

Toss away your toothbrush after an illness. This should be done even if the three month period has not elapsed and the bristles are still in good condition. Continuing to use the same toothbrush after an illness may lead to reinfection and this obviously can cause health complications.

Whenever someone uses your toothbrush you should always throw it away and buy a new one, even if that happens twice in a week!

Sharing toothbrushes is never recommended and it doesn’t matter how good the condition is, just toss it away. Since we can never know the kind of infections or health conditions that others have, we should never put our own health at risk by sharing a toothbrush.

The answer to the question of how often you should change your toothbrush is therefore determined by several factors.

The normal wear and tear allows you to change it every three months but there are different scenarios as we have seen that may require you to do it more frequently.

Those who keep on misplacing stuff including their toothbrushes should also replace them as soon as they discover they are lost. Sharing is never allowed so you definitely have to get your own.​

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Why is it necessary to change your toothbrush regularly?

There could be a ton of reasons why you need to change your toothbrush. But, we are not going to give you the unnecessary reasons that doesn’t matter actually. So, here’s the top reasons why it is necessary to change your toothbrush regularly.

Why you should change your toothrbush?
  • Weak bristles: When you use your toothbrush for quite sometime, the bristles become weak and stop being effective.

    The bristles on your toothbrush are designed in such a way that they are able to reach in between your teeth and clean them properly.

    When they become weak, they will only be grazing the teeth surface and not getting rid of germs.

    In the long run you may develop infections of the mouth or tooth decay. Due to the accumulated rotting bacteria in your mouth, you may develop a smelly mouth and this may be very uncomfortable especially when closely interacting with other people.
  • After an illness: It is advisable to toss away your toothbrush after an illness like sore throat, flu, cold or a mouth infection.

    This is because bacteria and other germs can still incubate in the toothbrush bristles and cause reinfection when you use it. Sometimes fungus and bacteria can also just develop in the bristles, one of the reasons why you should change it.

    Many doctors like Charles Gerba suggests that there’s no need of changing your toothbrush after illness.

    So, now it’s up to you whether you change you brush after being ill or not. But, we suggest you to have a new one.
  • When another person uses it: Some people have the habit of traveling without their toothbrush and instead of buying a new one, they borrow that which belongs to their hosts.

    When somebody else uses your toothbrush, the best thing to do is usually to throw it away. This is because you don’t know what kind of infections they carry in their mouths and sometimes sterilizing the toothbrush may not rid it of all the bacteria.

What are the RISKS of not replacing your toothbrush?

When you don’t replace your toothbrush as you should, you may have several health complications.

A worn out toothbrush may not brush your teeth and gums effectively leading to tooth decay and mouth odor. This is because the bristles are worn out and are not as effective. The incubating bacteria and fungus on your toothbrush are also a health hazard and may cause infections.

Not replacing your toothbrush when another person has used it can lead to the transfer of bacteria which may also cause tooth decay.

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When to replace your toothbrush heads?

Electric toothbrush heads are built to last as long as those of the normal toothbrush. They should therefore, be replaced every three months. There are newer versions of electric toothbrushes that have a feature for color change to inform you that it's time to change the toothbrush head.

Sometimes the bristles wear our faster and may cause a lot of abrasion. This would be an indicator to change the head even before the three months elapse.

The are also several other reasons as we have seen earlier that necessitate the need to change your toothbrush head. Those factors also hold for electronic toothbrushes.

Final words

A toothbrush is a very personal cleaning item that should be well taken care of. It should always be washed and properly stored to keep it away from germs and bacteria. Most people use their toothbrushes for far too long, in the process exposing their mouths to possible infections.

Everyone should make it a habit to change their toothbrushes every three months or earlier depending on the necessity. It is the little things that we ignore which result into constant pain from toothaches or smelly mouths.

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