Are the bristles on your toothbrush noticeably worn or matted? Have you been using the same toothbrush for several months? If so, it’s time to replace it with a new soft-bristle toothbrush that is the right size for you, your infant or child.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you change your toothbrush every three to four months because worn out toothbrushes are not as effective at cleaning your teeth. You may also want to consider swapping out your toothbrush after you have been sick.
Why Replacing Your Toothbrush is Important
The worn-out bristles of a toothbrush do not do a good job of removing plaque and food particles from your teeth. So even if you’re brushing your teeth twice a day, you are at risk for plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Bacteria in plaque produce acids after you eat or drink and plaque buildup can lead to cavities and gum disease.
And if you share a toothbrush holder or toothpaste with other members of your household, you should consider replacing your toothbrush after you have been sick. Your toothbrush may have germs on it that could infect other members of your household.
Toothbrush Care Best Practices
You want to give your toothbrush the best shot at taking great care of your teeth. To do so, follow these toothbrush tips for keeping your toothbrush clean and fresh:
- Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after each use: be sure to remove all toothpaste residue and food particles.
- Store your toothbrush in an upright position away from other toothbrushes: if toothbrushes touch, this can promote bacteria and germ swapping.
- Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone: your mouth harbors different kinds of bacteria that can transfer from person to person.
- Avoid using toothbrush containers: storing your moist toothbrush in a closed container promotes bacteria growth.
- Keep your toothbrush clean and bacteria-free by soaking it in antiseptic mouthwash or by using a toothbrush sanitizer.
Replacing your toothbrush when needed is part of maintaining a good oral health routine. If your toothbrush is in top shape, and you brush and floss regularly, you’re in a good position to have and maintain a healthy mouth.
* Need help replacing your toothbrush? Be sure to ask your dentist for a new one. New toothbrushes may also be available at community events.