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Know When It’s Time to Say Good-bye to Your Toothbrush 

Studies estimate that only 44% of men and 37% of women brush their teeth the recommended two times per day. That means the rest only brush their teeth once per day, or worse, not at all. 

Often, we’re so concerned with the frequency of brushing our teeth that we forget another factor entirely: the brush itself.  

So exactly how often should you change your toothbrush? And what are some things you can do to make your toothbrush last longer? In this guide, we’ll answer these questions so you can be sure your toothbrush isn’t inadvertently affecting your oral health. 

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush? 

Your toothbrush is a vital part of maintaining your dental hygiene. Unfortunately, these little companions aren’t permanent. Over time the bristles on your toothbrush will wear down. 

This causes them to start splaying out. When this occurs, your toothbrush isn’t nearly as effective at cleaning your teeth. Sometimes it can cause even more harm than good. 

That’s because over time things like food debris, bacteria, saliva, and even blood buildup on your toothbrush. Ultimately, experts recommend changing out your toothbrush every three or four months. 

However, the quality of your toothbrush doesn’t mean it will last longer. Rather, it depends on your brushing style. If you brush more aggressively than others, you might need to change your toothbrush even more often. 

What About Electric Toothbrushes? 

There are a lot of benefits to electric toothbrushes. They’re more efficient and easier to use than traditional toothbrushes. Many can even tell you how long to brush and where to brush in your mouth. 

However, they also come with some cons too. And one of those is their bristle lifespan. Because electric toothbrushes spin at such high speeds it causes the bristles to wear down at a much faster rate. 

That means you need to replace the head often, usually every one or two months. 

The good news is that most electric toothbrushes come with detachable heads making it easy to replace the bristles.  

How to Make Your Toothbrushes Last Longer 

Many people want to wash or disinfect their toothbrushes to make them last longer. While this will help with bacteria, it’s important to remember it won’t stop the bristles from wearing down. 

That being said, there are some things you can do to make your brush last longer. That starts with adjusting your brushing habits to be less aggressive. You should also make sure you are air drying your toothbrush after use to keep it out of reach from wet, bacteria-rich environments. 

The best way to do this is to keep them in an upright position. If you’re storing your toothbrush in a holder with another person, make sure they face far away from each other. 

Also never share toothbrushes with someone. Besides it being a little gross, it can also spread foreign bacteria into your mouth and gums. 

Lastly, never store your toothbrush in a closed container. This will help bacteria spread at an even faster rate. 

When to Be Thankful for the Memories and Ditch Your Toothbrush 

The second you notice the bristles on your toothbrush begin to flare and spin out, it’s time to look for a new one. A loss of stiffness or bristles falling out is also a good indication. 

The same goes if you notice your white bristles are becoming increasingly discolored. If you’ve been sick recently with the flu or cold, you need to replace your toothbrush right away. 

This is true even if it’s before the four-month mark. The virus can grow stronger on the bristles and cause you to get sick again. If you have a hard time telling when to replace your toothbrush, consider investing in one that can tell you when its time.  

Certain models have indicators for when you should change it, like a strip that turns to white. That way you never have to second guess yourself again. 

What Can Happen If You Don’t Change Your Toothbrush? 

It can be tempting to keep using your toothbrush until it falls apart. Just know there are consequences to this. As we mentioned, when the bristles on your toothbrush wear down it means the tool is less effective at cleaning. 

This means you’re more prone to cavities, other types of infections, bad breath and even tooth loss. And that’s not the only thing that can cause infections. When gross bacteria fill your toothbrush, you spread it around your mouth and in between your gums. 

This can contribute to a variety of different gum diseases affecting your health and wellness. So, the consequences of not replacing your toothbrush can be expensive dental procedures to deal with these diseases. Toothbrushes are much cheaper and easier to simply replace. 

Don’t Forget About Dental Cleanings 

It’s important to remember at the end of the day, your toothbrush will only get you so far. You also need to remember to regularly schedule dental cleanings with your dentist or orthodontics specialist. 

Make sure you’re doing this at least every six months as a prophylaxis cleaning. If it has been a while since your last visit, you will likely receive a more intensive, different type of dental cleaning

When combined with a proper toothbrush this is the best way to prevent cavities and gum disease. 

Need Dental Advice? Contact McIlwain Dental Specialists 

At McIlwain Dental Specialists, we know our patients have questions about dental health. Some common questions include which toothpaste to use and how often to floss. 

That’s why in addition to routine and preventative care we provide you with all the knowledge you need to optimize your oral health. So, if you’re ready to start learning, schedule your next appointment with us today!