How Often Do You Change Your Toothbrush? See What the Dentist Has to Say

  • Post last modified:August 18, 2022
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Remember the last time you got a new toothbrush? How often do you usually change your toothbrush?

A toothbrush is an essential personal care product that should definitely be replaced regularly. Why?

Because your mouth is home to about 700 species of microbes. These include bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. 

“Everybody has these microbes in their mouth,” says Dr. Robert Palmer, an NIH expert on oral microbes.

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In fact, the oral cavity has the second largest and most diverse microbiota after the gut. [*]

Just like the microbiome in your gut, certain types of bacteria that live in your mouth are beneficial bacteria that play an important role in digesting food, cleaning and freshening breath and more. However, other bacteria are less useful and can harm your health.

When you brush your teeth every day, the bristles are coated with various bacteria from your mouth, which multiply and grow in the humid environment of the bathroom.

If you don’t change your toothbrush regularly, no matter how well you take care of your teeth, your efforts may be in vain.

Thus, how can you tell if it’s time to throw out your toothbrush and get a new one? Is there a better way to keep your toothbrush clean and prolong its use as much as possible?

Let’s see what professional dentists have to say.

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush

1. Manual toothbrushes need to be replaced every three to four months

The American Dental Association recommends replacing your manual toothbrush every three to four months, but no more than six months.

A toothbrush can remove bacteria from your teeth, so even if you rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after brushing your teeth, bacteria will still remain on the bristles.

Also, a worn toothbrush doesn’t remove plaque very well. You need to replace your toothbrush regularly to provide good cleaning results to your teeth and gums.

2. Electric toothbrushes should be replaced every one to two months

Electric toothbrush heads need more frequent replacement. 

Electric toothbrushes vibrate at high speeds and their brush heads don’t last as long as manual toothbrushes.

Therefore, replace your electric toothbrush with a new one at least every two months.

3. Change your toothbrush immediately after recovering from an illness

If you have had a cold, flu or other virus or infectious disease, remember to throw away your toothbrush once you have recovered. No matter how new it is.

How To Tell If You Need A New Toothbrush

In addition to changing your toothbrush on your normal cycle, don’t hesitate to get a new one if you notice that the bristles of your toothbrush are starting to bend or become chipped.

According to a 2013 study, after 40 days of continuous use, the number of bacteria attached to a toothbrush’s surface increased significantly as the bristles wore out. Its effectiveness in removing plaque and reducing gingivitis is also greatly reduced.

Some toothbrushes are made with a specific technology that over time turns the bristles from colored to white, telling you it’s time to replace them. 

Bristles that are shed, frayed or lose their hardness may lose their cleaning and sterilizing effect on your teeth.

Can Cleaning or Sanitizing a Toothbrush Prolong Its Use?

Cleaning or sanitizing your toothbrush doesn’t necessarily prolong its life of use, because no matter how much you keep your toothbrush clean, the bristles still eventually wear out.

However, careful cleaning of your toothbrush after use can help reduce the number of bacteria on the bristles.

For routine maintenance, according to London-based dentist Dr. Parneet Sehmi : “The best step is to rinse with hot water before and after use, which can help soften the bristles and remove food particles and toothpaste that may have lodged in them. ” 

About how to sterilize your toothbrush, Dr. Sehmi recommends soaking the toothbrush in a cup filled with antibacterial mouthwash and stirring for about 30 seconds.

More Tips For Toothbrush Care 

There are a few ways to take care of your toothbrush to make it work more efficiently ( though you still need to replace it regularly ).

  • CDC recommends that you should store your toothbrush upright and allow it to air dry after each use. 
  • Never share toothbrushes with others.
  • If multiple toothbrushes are stored in the same holder, try to avoid them touching each other. 
  • Avoid storing your toothbrush in an airtight container, which can easily lead to bacterial growth.

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