Brushing your teeth keeps you smiling confidently with clean, white teeth and fresh breath. It’s something you do every morning and night, and sometimes even in between.
Yet, there is a point when the toothbrush you use to remove bacteria on your teeth is no longer doing the job. In fact, it may be adding bacteria to your mouth!
The average toothbrush contains a ton of bacteria, such as fungi, viruses, and tiny microorganisms, that sit on your toothbrush bristles. There is also, then, the consideration of the poor physical condition of your toothbrush after months of use. Hence, it is time to take a good hard look at your toothbrush bristles. Are your bristles straight? Or are they splayed and bent over?
It’s extremely important for you to change your toothbrush regularly to keep a good oral health routine.
How often should you change your toothbrush? According to the Canadian Dental Association, you should replace your tooth brush every 3 months.
Electric or Manual Toothbrush?
No matter whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, bristles are bristles. Over time the bristles fan out, spread apart and deteriorate. When the bristles are worn down, they no longer can do an effective job of cleaning your teeth – it's like to trying to clean your window with a hairbrush... it will no longer be effective in removing plaque!
Plaque is a transparent layer of bacteria that forms on your teeth right after you eat. If you don’t remove the plaque, it will harden and become tartar. Tartar will eat away at your gums and eventually affect the bones that hold your teeth, leading to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a serious condition causing gum recession, tooth loss and jawbone recession.
When to Replace Your Toothbrush More Often
Dental professionals have a rule of thumb that recommends that you change your toothbrush if you’ve recently been sick with an infection or a virus.
If you have children or a significant other have recently been sick, and your toothbrushes are located next to each other, it’s time for a replacement as well.
Also, your kids’ toothbrush replacement should be more frequent. Since kids usually brush their teeth a little more rigorously than adults, the wear and tear on their brushes may be greater.
Care of Your Toothbrush
The following are some helpful tips and tricks to ensure proper care of your toothbrush, hence resulting in optimal oral health!
- Rinse it thoroughly after use with tap water.
- Store in a dry place. It’s very important to store your brush in a vertical position so that it can air dry. Do not put a cap over your bristles, or store your brush in a plastic case, or a drawer as this leads to growth of microorganisms.
- Don’t store your toothbrush near your sink or toilet, since unwanted germs can splash on to your toothbrush.
- Never share your toothbrush with another person.
Don’t wait until your toothbrush is looking more like a fan than a brush! Note the replacement date on your calendar or mark your toothbrush. Always be prepared by keeping several replacement toothbrushes or brush heads for your electric toothbrush on hand.