We all know when to change our bed sheets or when to get rid of faded, worn out clothes, but what about our toothbrushes? How often should we change them out with new ones? Although there is not a specific number of days, several factors are important to consider when creating your personal timeline on this.
Your toothbrush plays a very important, everyday roll in your oral hygiene and is imperative in effective plaque removal, so it is a must that we take proper care of them. Not doing so could negatively affect your personal oral hygiene, and even spread illness causing bacteria throughout your mouth. A good guideline is to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, however, if you have been sick it should be changed sooner, especially if your toothbrush is kept in close proximity to other toothbrushes. This is because, although you could be feeling better, those germs that caused you to be sick could be hiding in the bristles of your brush and cause reinfection. If you lost track of time and are unsure if it is time to get a new toothbrush just take a look at the bristles. If they are frayed then it is time to ditch it, even if it has been less than 3 months, which is the average lifespan of a toothbrush head. Frayed bristles do not clean as well and will decrease the effectiveness of your brushing. Children tend to need their toothbrushes changed even more often than adults since they usually brush more rigorously, therefore causing the ends to fray sooner.
Whether you are using a manual or electric toothbrush, one of the most important things that you can do to extend the life of your brush, is to keep it clean and stored properly. The best way to do this is to rinse off your toothbrush with the tap water once you are done using it, to wash away the remaining toothpaste and saliva. Then, always store it in a vertical position with the bristles in a position where they are able to air dry. Be sure to avoid storing your toothbrush in a closed container because this will cause bacteria to build up on, and in between, the bristles. Also, be sure to never share toothbrushes, as sharing a toothbrush also means sharing body fluids and microorganisms that could cause infection.
The best thing to do is make sure that you have extra toothbrushes for you and everyone in your family at all times so when the time comes to break out that new fresh toothbrush, you are ready!