Brushing your teeth regularly is vital to maintaining a healthy smile. But, that problem-free smile won’t last long if you don’t take proper care of your toothbrush by switching to a new one often enough. Dentist in Escondido, CA, Dr. Todd McMaster asks, “How often do you replace your toothbrush?”
What’s Your Track Record?
Which of the following best describes your toothbrush maintenance record:
- A) I have no idea how long I’ve been using my current toothbrush.
- B) I wait until the bristles start to fall out of my toothbrush before I replace it.
- C) The only reason I replaced my last toothbrush is because I accidentally dropped it in the toilet.
- D) Who needs a personal toothbrush? I just “borrow” one from someone else (though they don’t know it!)
- E) None of the above
Having Problems Saying Good-Bye?
If you answered yes to any of the above statements, other than (E), the state of your smile could be in worse shape than you think. While you don’t likely have an emotional attachment to your toothbrush like you did with your favorite blanket/toy as a child, you may unknowingly behave as if you do. It could be you simply forget to replace it or fail to realize the importance of doing so. How often should you replace it?
Taking Preventative Action
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that consumers replace toothbrushes approximately every 3–4 months or sooner if the bristles become frayed with use. A great link providing excellent general recommendations for toothbrush care can be found here.
Whether your toothbrush is electric or manual, the bristles will become worn or frayed with use, resulting in less effective cleaning of your teeth. Toothbrushes wear differently with each individual due to brushing habits plus other factors, so check your toothbrush regularly and make the change more often if needed. Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced more frequently. Be sure all your family’s toothbrushes are ADA approved.
Don’t Forget to Make the Change
If you find it difficult remembering when to exchange your toothbrush, consider using a brand that features bristles that fade or change color to indicate that it’s time for a replacement. Or set a reminder on your favorite electronic device to tell you when it’s time to say goodbye to that old toothbrush.
Replacing your toothbrush is easier and less expensive than having to replace teeth lost to decay and infection. Show your teeth the love they deserve and they’ll thank you with a lifetime of happy, healthy-looking smiles.
What works for you: Share what you do to make sure you replace your toothbrush when you should.