Oral Health Tips: How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Change is an axiom of life. And that should absolutely include your toothbrush.

Based on the standard recommendation of brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily, a toothbrush is used at least 60 times a month and at least 720 times a year. Calculate that out for 2 minutes of brushing per use (a generous and perhaps not entirely realistic estimate for many people), and a toothbrush gives you 120 minutes or 2 hours worth of brushing power every month. That’s quite a bit of work for those tiny bristles.

Consistent and proper use naturally causes wear on the bristles of your toothbrush. Over time the bristles become less effective at their primary job of removing plaque and debris from your teeth, gums and tongue.

One of the primary ways of knowing whether or not your toothbrush needs to be replaced is by looking at the bristles. If the bristles have lost their firmness or have become twisted or mangled, then it’s time to chunk your toothbrush and start fresh. With normal oral hygiene habits, a toothbrush needs to be replaced after approximately 12 weeks of use.

proper brushing habits includes replacing your toothbrush regularly

In certain circumstances however, a toothbrush may need to be replaced much sooner. It is always a good idea to ask your dentist, periodontist or dental hygienist for specific recommendations. Aside from specific recommendations, how do you know when to replace your toothbrush?

If you’ve been using the same toothbrush or electric toothbrush head for more than 12 weeks.

Even if your toothbrush and the bristles looks normal, the CDC still recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. And by the way, if your toothbrush still looks as healthy on week 12 as it did when you first started using it, you may not be brushing your teeth properly or frequently enough. Not sure if you’re brushing properly? Get more information about how to brush your teeth properly as well as other oral hygiene instructions on our website. If you would prefer a demonstration of proper brushing techniques or if you have particularly sensitive teeth, ask board-certified periodontist, Dr. Charles Orth, or our dental hygienists for help at your next appointment at our Dallas periodontal and dental implant practice.

✓ If you or anyone in your family or household has been sick.

Did you know that about 700 species of bacteria live in your mouth? Brushing your teeth does not remove all these bacteria, of course, but it does mean that your toothbrush comes into contact with all these bacteria – some of them being quite harmful. Viral and bacterial infections are of particular concern since these can easily spread to you or other members of your household through your toothbrushes. If you or anyone in your household has been sick, even if it’s just a common cold, you should replace your toothbrush.

If the toothbrush comes into contact with anything other than your teeth.

A toothbrush should only ever come into contact with your teeth. If your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head come into contact with any surface other than your teeth, you should replace your toothbrush. This means that you should never share a toothbrush, even with a close family member. You also do not need to use toothbrush head covers as it may promote the growth of bacteria.

When it comes to your oral health, better safe than sorry is a good rule of thumb. If you are unsure about whether or not to replace your toothbrush, then just go ahead and change it out for a new one. And next time you visit our Dallas periodontal office, we invite you to ask Dr. Orth or your dental hygienist any other questions you may have about your at-home oral hygiene routine. Our staff is committed to exceptional care and promoting the health and well-being of all our patients.

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