When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? Even though we use them to clean our smiles twice a day, many of us don’t realize when our toothbrushes begin to lose their effectiveness. However, recent studies have discovered that using a toothbrush past its prime can make your mouth unhealthier. Your Montrose dentist explains when you should be using a new toothbrush and what can happen to your oral health if you don’t.
Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Toothbrush
The bristles on your toothbrush are designed to gently scrub away the plaque, bacteria, and lingering food particles on your teeth. However, they become frayed, flattened, and skewed over several months of use. To keep your dental routine as efficient as possible, dental professionals agree that a toothbrush should be replaced:
- After three to four months of use: Studies conducted by the American Dental Association and other experts have found that toothbrush bristles become noticeably more frayed and less effective after three to four months of regular use.
- As soon as the bristles become frayed or flattened: You may need to replace your toothbrush sooner if you brush with too much force, which will flatten the bristles much faster.
- Once you’ve recovered from a sickness: Contagious bacteria may be able to survive on the surface of your toothbrush bristles for several days, so it’s best to replace your toothbrush after a cold or the flu to prevent any possible reinfection.
Consequences of Using an Old Toothbrush
Not only are frayed toothbrush bristles less effective, but they can negatively impact your oral health over time as well. The more skewed and bent they are, the more debris they trap as you brush your teeth. The next time you brush, these particles will be deposited back into your mouth, which can lead to:
- Bad breath
- Plaque buildup
- Tooth decay
- Oral infections
- Gum disease
Tips for Choosing Your Next Toothbrush
The most popular toothbrush replacement choice is the traditional manual option. They’re affordable, widely available, easy to travel with, and easy to use. You can choose between a variety of brush head styles, bristle patterns, and handle lengths for the toothbrush that fits your unique brushing style.
Modern electric toothbrushes are an excellent choice for those with limited mobility or who need help improving their brushing habits. They can come with options like built-in timers, modes, and sensors to help guide your dental routine. Whichever you choose, only use toothbrushes with soft bristles and the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval.
Your toothbrush is your first line of defense against most oral health issues, so it’s important that it’s working properly. Replacing your old toothbrush every several months is a small investment that your smile will benefit from for years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Donald Tamborello has been offering excellent dental care to the smiles of Houston, TX and the surrounding communities for over 32 years. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry, which is the highest honor available from the organization. He and his talented team use state-of-the-art technology to make every treatment as quick, comfortable, and efficient as possible, and they always take the time to get to know you and your personal dental health goals. They’d be happy to create a custom plan for you and go over the best ways to take care of your smile at home, so feel free to reach them via their website or at (713) 522-7540.