How do you know when to change your toothbrush?
After all, everyone’s brushing style is a little different, so in the same amount of time, the wear on your toothbrush bristles might not look the same as someone else’s. But using a fresh toothbrush is key to proper oral health, so it’s important to know how to keep it performing at its best!
The American Dental Association recommends you change out your toothbrush every three to four months – or sooner, if the bristles become frayed. And pay extra close attention to children’s toothbrushes: as they adjust to healthy brushing habits, they may be a little rough on their brushes, biting down on the plastic handle or brushing too vigorously, causing extra wear. If you notice your child’s toothbrush is getting worn down, change it out even before three months.
These same guidelines apply to brush head attachments for electric toothbrushes, since they work in the same fashion as traditional toothbrushes.
Need an easy way to remember? Change out your brush with the season! On the first day of fall, winter, spring, and summer, take advantage of the transition to remember to switch out your old toothbrush for a new one. Or set a reminder on your phone, which will send you a notification that it’s time to switch!
Another tip: buy in bulk! Having an extra stock of toothbrushes on hand will ensure you don’t put off switching out a new one. You can buy toothbrushes in bulk at places like Costco and Target, or online at Amazon. Your local pharmacy may have bulk options, too!
Why Do I Need a Fresh Toothbrush? Isn’t it Just to Brush Off Plaque?
It may seem like all toothbrushes are the same, and that an old toothbrush does just as good a job as a new one! But there’s more to teeth brushing than that – much more, in fact!
Your toothbrush, when paired with fluoride toothpaste, helps remove plaque and tartar from your mouth, protecting the enamel on your teeth and keeping your gums and between-teeth areas clean and clear of debris.
But brushing incorrectly, or with an old toothbrush, can actually damage your mouth, especially your gums. Receding gums can lead to tooth sensitivity or may require a gum graft.
It is important to brush correctly, and use a fresh toothbrush that fits your mouth, to protect your oral health for years to come!
To Keep Your Smile Shining and Healthy, Keep Your Toothbrush Clean and Fresh
Beyond switching out your old toothbrush for a new one every three to four months, you can also boost your toothbrush’s effectiveness by caring for it carefully.
Make sure that when you’re done brushing, you set your toothbrush out to dry in the open air, upright, and not touching any other brushes. Lots of germs and bacteria can grow on your toothbrush, but letting it dry out in the air will kill most of them.
If you want to clean your toothbrush, you can soak it in alcohol to kill germs. Mouthwash is antiseptic so it makes a good soak for your toothbrush as well!
You can also boil your toothbrush in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds to zap germs. If you soak your brush, make sure to rinse it properly and let it air dry. Don’t put your toothbrush in the dishwasher: it’ll get damaged!
How to Brush to Protect Your Teeth
When it comes to toothbrushing, more is not necessarily better! Brushing too hard can harm your teeth and your gums. Instead, focus on gentle, consistent brushes that clean the teeth but don’t scrub them.
Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, and use short, tooth-wide strokes.
Brush all areas of your teeth: outer surface, inner surface, and chewing surfaces. When you’re finished with your teeth, brush your tongue as well to remove plaque and tartar (this is a great way to keep your breath fresh!).
Make sure to brush twice a day, for two minutes each time. You can use an egg-timer to make sure you’re brushing for the full two minutes; some electric toothbrushes have a buzzer that lets you know when you’ve reached your time.
Always use fluoride toothpaste, and make sure to floss at least once a day!
With a Healthy Toothbrush, Your Teeth Will Stay Healthy, Too!
Toothbrushing is a critical part of your oral health. Making sure your toothbrush is working at its best will help you keep your teeth healthy, your mouth clean, and your smile shining for as long as you do!