Did you know that February is National Children’s…
As a Kansas City family dentist, one question we hear all the time is, “How often should I replace my toothbrush?” Most people have some idea of how often they think it should happen, but those ideas can vary pretty widely from person to person, and are often way, way off the mark. The simple answer is that you should change your toothbrush about once every three months.
When it comes to how often you should get a new toothbrush—or, in the case of an electric toothbrush, a new brush head—there’s a lot of consensus from dentists, the American Dental Association, and most toothbrush manufacturers. Three months lets you get a lot of use out of your toothbrush while still maintaining good hygiene standards. You should also change your toothbrush immediately if you’ve been ill, as swapping out your toothbrush as soon as you recover from a nasty cold or virus reduces the risk of reinfection.
After all, if you’re doing it right, your toothbrush is something that you use more than once every day. That much wear can put a lot of strain on anything over time, and a toothbrush is specifically being used to scrub stuff off your teeth, right? That’s a lot of wear for those little bristles. Plus, over time your toothbrush becomes a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, no matter how well you rinse it after you’re done brushing.
Not sure how long you’ve been using your current toothbrush? That’s okay, you don’t necessarily have to write an expiration date on it, or mark “New Toothbrush Day” on your calendar! (Though that sounds kind of fun…) You can usually tell if your toothbrush needs to be replaced simply by looking at it. If the bristles look frayed or faded, or if the head of your toothbrush looks like it’s been mashed from months of use, it’s time for a new one.
Even if you change your toothbrush out every three months like clockwork, though, there are some other best practices that you can do every day to make sure that you get the most out of your tooth-brushing experience and help your toothbrush last as long as it should. Of course, when you’re using your toothbrush always rinse it out when you’re done. Most people rinse under running tap water, but you can also dunk it in mouthwash, which is an antiseptic that can help to kill germs and bacteria. When storing your toothbrush while not in use, always keep it in an upright position, whether in a toothbrush holder or simply standing up in a cup or glass. This helps air to circulate around the bristles and keep the toothbrush dry, which discourages the buildup of germs. Storing your toothbrush in a tight container such as a travel tube also leads to an increased risk of bacteria buildup, so use them sparingly!
Ever wonder why you typically get a new toothbrush after you visit your Kansas City family dentist? It’s because here at Blacker Family Dental in Kansas City, MO, we want you to always have a new toothbrush on hand to help keep your oral hygiene habits on-point! If it’s time for your next appointment (and your next new toothbrush!) give us a call at (816) 763-8400 or click here to schedule an appointment.