How often should you change your toothbrush?

happy family mother and child girl cleans teeth with toothbrush

The next time you brush your teeth, examine your toothbrush. Are the bristles straight, or crooked and bent over? Is there dried debris at the base of the bristles? Did you just get over a cold? If any of these apply, you need a fresh toothbrush!

Many Americans are concerned about the whiteness of their smiles, but forget to take care of their toothbrush – the tool used to keep their teeth clean.

On average, most people use the same toothbrush for nine months. But the American Dental Association reports that, over time, toothbrushes can become infested with bacteria. Germs are collected from the mouth and accumulate in the bristles of the toothbrush. And when toothbrushes touch in a storage container in the bathroom, germs can spread easily from one family member to another.

Consider these toothbrush care guidelines:

      • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles look worn or frayed. Worn bristles are less effective in removing plaque and can harm your gums.
      • Use a toothbrush style recommended by your dentist.
      • Brush your teeth twice daily or at least two minutes each time.
      • Rinse your toothbrush with hot water after each use and remove any toothpaste or debris.
      • Store your toothbrush standing up in a cup or toothbrush holder – making sure other toothbrushes do not touch it – and let it air dry.
      • Change your toothbrush after a cold, flu, mouth infection or sore throat, as germs can hide in the bristles and cause reinfection.
      • Don’t share toothbrushes.

A toothbrush is a valuable tool in helping you maintain a great smile and good oral health throughout life.

Some people prefer a traditional manual toothbrush and others like an electric version. Whichever you prefer, remember to frequently replace your toothbrush or brush attachment to ensure the bristles are effective in removing plaque and food debris from your teeth.

Learn more about electric vs. manual toothbrushes by reading this blog.

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