It’s easy to know when to replace worn out shoes or faded clothes. But how often should you change your toothbrush? It all depends on your usage, health and preferences. Before you brush again, ask yourself whether it is time for a new toothbrush. Studies show that after three months of normal wear and tear, toothbrushes are much less effective at removing plaque from teeth and gums compared to new ones. The bristles break down and loose their effectiveness in getting to all those tricky corners around your teeth.
When to Get a New Toothbrush
Replace toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months. Consider getting a new toothbrush sooner if you have been sick, especially if the toothbrush is stored close to other toothbrushes. That’s because germs can hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to reinfection. When in doubt, look at the bristles. If they are frayed, they won’t clean teeth as thoroughly. Because children often brush more rigorously than adults, they may need their toothbrushes replaced more often.
Types of Toothbrushes
There are two styles of toothbrushes to consider: manual and electric. Choose what feels comfortable and makes you want to brush your teeth regularly. A manual toothbrush is portable and ready to use every time you need it. It makes no noise, and you will have complete control over the pressure it puts on your teeth and gums. An electric toothbrush requires charging and is a bit more cumbersome to take along when traveling. However, the rotating movement of the bristles makes it easier to clean between teeth and at the gum line. Many electric toothbrushes have built-in sensors to make sure you brush long enough and don’t press too hard.
Maintaining Your Toothbrush
No matter which type of toothbrush you use, keep it clean. The American Dental Association recommends rinsing the toothbrush under tap water after you brush to wash away lingering toothpaste and saliva. Then, store the toothbrush in a vertical position, with the bristles positioned so they can air dry.
Storing a toothbrush in a closed container can cause bacteria to build up, so it’s best to let the bristles of the toothbrush fully dry between each usage. If you’re traveling, consider using disposable toothbrushes during the trip.