How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

Most people know that they should replace their toothbrushes periodically.  Just exactly how often is actually variable.  You need to know a few different factors about toothbrush wear and replacement to know when to replace yours.

Why Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

Toothbrushes don’t last forever.  The purpose of brushing your teeth twice a day is to remove dental plaque.  There are a couple of reasons that a toothbrush may become ineffective and require replacement.

Ineffective Plaque Removal

Over time, with consistent use, the bristles on your toothbrush will become poor plaque removers.  This happens when the bristles are bent from wear and tear.  If the bristles are pointing away from the handle to the sides, then it is unlikely these bristles will continue to effectively remove dental plaque. 

If your toothbrush looks like this —————>

it is time to replace it.

Bacterial Contamination

Toothbrush bristles can also harbor bacteria.  We would love to tell you that it is only the bacteria already present in your mouth, but unfortunately, that’s not true.  Studies of toothbrushes stored on the bathroom counter have found a wide variety of bacterial cultures present on the bristles, including fecal bacteria.  

When you are ill, the toothbrush bristles may contain bacterial strains that could allow you to re-infect yourself. 

If you’ve been sick or you question the storage location of your toothbrush, it’s time to replace it.

When Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

On average, every adult needs to replace his or her toothbrush at a minimum of every three to six months.  When you see your dentist for consistent professional teeth cleanings, you may receive a new toothbrush.  This is a great reminder to throw out your old one. 

If you use an electric toothbrush, change the head every three to six months.  Many manufacturers are including large numbers of replacement heads with the original toothbrush, making it easy to remember to replace them. 

Some toothbrushes contain colored indicator bristles that alert you to the need for replacement as the color fades. 

If you cannot remember the last time you replaced your toothbrush, it is time for a new one!

Concerned about Plastic Waste?

We know that many people have concerns about the effects of so much plastic waste on our environment.  Many toothbrush manufacturers are taking those concerns seriously.  It is now easy to find toothbrushes made from renewable resources, like wood. 

You may also consider an electric toothbrush, which creates less plastic waste because the large base lasts for many years, and the replaceable heads are much smaller in size than traditional plastic toothbrushes are.  You will create less waste with these replacement heads than manual toothbrushes.

More Questions about Maintaining a Healthy Toothbrush?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a visit with our dentists and wonderful dental hygienists.  They can answer any specific question you have about oral hygiene and the products you use.  Our goal is to help every patient of ours maintain a completely healthy mouth for life.

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