How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

by | May 20, 2022

You’re at the local store and a deal for a new toothbrush catches your eye. You might consider replacing your toothbrush when it’s broken or has a funky smell. 

You know it’s time to buy new shampoo or toothpaste when you run out, but how do you know when it’s time to get a new toothbrush? Most dentists, and the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months. 

Over time, toothbrushes go through normal wear and tear and become less effective with removing plaque from teeth and gums. Studies have found that around 3 months is when the bristles break down and lose effectiveness.

When Should I Consider Replacing My Toothbrush?

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) also advises replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or whenever it appears to be getting worn out. Once the bristles in your toothbrush start to lose their stiffness, the toothbrush is almost ready for the trash. Without bristles that brush aside food and plaque, your toothbrush quickly loses its efficiency. 

If you begin to notice the decline in bristle quality, then it’s time to replace your toothbrush. If you’ve recently been sick, it’s best to replace your toothbrush to prevent the spread of your infection. It’s vital to keep a cleaning routine for your toothbrush. Bacteria can hide in pockets where it’s wet and dark.

What Are The Different Types Of Toothbrushes (Electric and Standard)?

Not all toothbrushes are made equally. It’s important to choose the best version for dental needs. Most modern toothbrushes are made of plastics. Polyethylene and Polypropylene are the common plastics used in toothbrushes. The reason behind this is the fact plastic is resistant to bacterial action. Therefore, bacteria from your teeth will not break down the plastic while you’re using it.

The bristles from toothbrushes consist of nylon. Nylon was the first synthetic fiber invented. Nylon fibers are strong and flexible, resistant to degradation or breaking down in the water. The combination of plastics and nylon can support the longest usable life in toothbrushes.

There are environmentally-friendly toothbrushes out there for consumers. The plastic-environmental difference is worth noting. Several companies use wooden handles and pig hair bristles to supplement the changes. The only downside is that pig hair retains bacteria, which can lead to unsanitary conditions. Plant-based oil bristles have been used, however, 100% plant-based bristles require more research. 

What Determines Effectiveness Of Electric Vs Standard Toothbrushes? 

Many elements determine the effectiveness of electric and standard toothbrushes. Buyers need to compare the brands for the best bang for their buck. The more expensive and robust electric toothbrush brands contain charging units and multiple heads. The more complex the brushing system, the better off users will be in their journey to remove plaque and deep clean teeth.

Standard toothbrushes usually have a single brush head on the top of the handle. Some users select soft bristles for sensitive teeth while some prefer harder bristles to add power when removing plaque-causing materials from hard-to-reach places. 

The electric toothbrush models are battery-operated, which means they can recharge after being used or after being placed back into its docking station/side kickstand. Electric models must also contain rechargeable batteries that must be placed on charge whenever possible. 

Since toothbrushes are considered to be personal items, how long a toothbrush can last before it is replaced depends on how often it is used and how well the user takes care of the brush head by rinsing it thoroughly after each brushing session. This could mean that all four sides of the bristles are worn away.

Harder bristles do not necessarily mean they last longer but softer ones tend to wear out faster than their more durable counterparts. It’s important for length-of-use comparisons to only compare the same type (soft /medium/hard) brushes.

Additionally, the American Dental Association recommends replacing electric toothbrushes every two or three years regardless of how frequently they are used. This is because internal components wear out over time and a new brush has the latest technologies built into it. 

However, you should keep in mind that this recommendation does not apply to replacement heads, for these toothbrushes should be replaced when recommended by the manufacturer regardless of how often they are used. Before it is replaced depends on how often it is used and how well the user takes care of the brush head by rinsing it thoroughly after each brushing session. 

Though there’s no correct deadline for replacing standard toothbrushes, users should consider changing their brushes. Oral health conditions and how long you spend brushing all affect how clean your teeth will be. Maintaining a daily routine is vital to your oral health.

Factors to consider when purchasing a toothbrush include:

  • Angled
  • Compact vs Full Size
  • Extra-soft Bristles
  • Personalized Look and Feel
  • Whitening Brush Heads
  • Type of Handle

What Are The Risk Factors Of Using A Toothbrush Beyond Its Recommended Lifespan?

When the bristles on your toothbrush either become splayed or frayed, it is time to replace them. Think about a mop after a couple of months of use.

Bristle wear will naturally occur over time, but how often do you pay attention to how worn out they are? When the bristles begin to spread out, they are no longer able to clean teeth effectively causing plaque and tartar build-up that could lead to cavities. 

This is a common question not only for how often people brush their teeth but how long should an electric toothbrush last as well. Wiping off your toothbrush after each use doesn’t cut it anymore because there is still an opportunity for growth. 

Even if you cover your toothbrush, the moisture from your mouth can still affect the bristles. Toothbrushes that are used by children or those with braces typically need to be changed more often because they tend to wear out faster compared to adult ones.

The American Dental Association recommends replacing toothbrushes at least twice per year or when the bristles become frayed and worn, whichever comes first.

Why Bacteria Is Harmful To The Mouth

When you brush your teeth, there is a lot of movement that takes place, especially if you use an electric toothbrush. All this movement causes the bristles to move around in different sorts of positions causing them to act like small brushes themselves, moving bacteria into different areas of the toothbrush. Once the toothbrush becomes saturated with bacteria it can cause harmful effects on other parts of your mouth. 

This is how people tend to get pyogenic granulomas, which are swollen red bumps that occur around the gums or inside the cheeks. These growths are brought about by infection and one way to get them is through using old used toothbrushes. 

Once these bristles become moist they transform into hiding places for bacteria which then reproduce throughout the crevices of the mouth. These bacteria then form into what is called biofilm s ( or plaque residue ) which can build up and lead to cavity formation.

The bristles of your toothbrush act like antennas picking up these bacteria and transferring them back into your mouth where they can cause more harm than good.

To help prevent the spread of harmful germs you should be changing your toothbrush after every use. This will ensure that all the bacteria have been removed from the brush itself, thus preventing any further infection in the mouth. 

To make sure this happens it is recommended that you place new toothbrushes approximately 3 feet away from previously used ones so that when you go to get a new one it doesn’t pick up leftover bacteria that may have stuck around for extra time outside.

Even if you can’t see a difference after using a new brush it is necessary to change the toothbrush every time to prevent any harmful effects.

What Should You Do If Your Toothbrush Is Infected?

If these bacteria are transmitted to other parts of the body, you may become ill with infection throughout your entire system. These infections are bacterial and usually begin within 24 hours if not treated right away.  You may begin to see irritation or inflammation in certain areas of the mouth where bacteria built up.

You should always take care of how you look after your toothbrush because it isn’t just about how it looks; how often do I need to change my toothbrush is a question people will ask themselves more times than none but they never get around to doing it. Not changing their toothbrushes has led some people down a path that can become costly later down the road.

How To Take Care Of Your Toothbrush

There are many ways to take care of your toothbrush. You might assume leaving your toothbrush out to dry is not sanitary but it can prevent harmful bacteria from hiding in dark, wet pockets. 

  • You can also store your toothbrush upright or on its side to prevent water from getting inside the handle. 
  • Rinsing with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide before use can lend itself to disinfecting residual bacteria.
  • The toothbrush bristles should completely dry before re-use.

What Are The Benefits Of Changing Your Toothbrush Every Three Months?

We often get asked the question, how often should you change your toothbrush? 

While some professionals recommend changing your toothbrushes every three months, others dentists believe that it depends on how often you brush and how much pressure you apply when brushing.

Either way, replacing your toothbrush with a new one has various benefits, including decreasing the number of bacteria in your mouth. 

Using an old/expired toothbrush can result in spreading harmful bacteria back into your mouth or other areas such as your gums or cheeks if left unchecked. It’s not just about how clean the brush is but how does it feel when you use it to brush your teeth? If after 3 months, it doesn’t feel like it’s working well anymore then replace your toothbrush.

Quality Is Assured With Gardens Family Dentistry

Developing a proper oral care routine can save you on the bank. Routine dental office visits are a sure way to monitor the health of your smile. Determining the right toothbrush for your smile can introduce many questions. Replacing your toothbrush can help protect your teeth from an army of festering buildup.

Gardens Family Dentistry is here to provide the utmost care and attention to your oral health. Regular checkups are met with ease rather than anxiety for all of our patients. Contact us today for more information. We accept a variety of insurance providers.