Most people don't give their toothbrush a second thought, you are probably one of them. Most likely your toothbrush sits on the bathroom countertop or in your vanity. Once (but hopefully twice) a day you grab it and then go about your day. At some point you will likely replace it, but when should you replace your toothbrush? If you can't remember the last time you bought a new toothbrush, that's not so great, but you can redeem yourself.
According to the American Dental Association, you should change your toothbrush at least once every three to four months, but there are some extenuating circumstances that may lead you to change it more often. Toothbrushes are not extremely expensive items, so it's a good idea to try to stick to that schedule.
It's a good idea to get into a positive brushing routine that includes changing your toothbrush, but you should be aware of exceptions. The bottom line is if you have any doubts that the toothbrush you are sticking into your mouth is not fresh, bristly, and unscathed, replace it.
1) The Lifespan of Your Bristles
Whether you purchase an expensive toothbrush, an eco-friendly toothbrush, or the bargain brand, you depend on the bristles to clean your teeth. If the bristles on your toothbrush look like you after an all-nighter, chances are they are not doing their job anymore. A 2013 study published by the National Institute of Health, found that the bristles of common toothbrushes stopped effectively removing plaque on study participants between the 70th and 100th days of use.
The longer a brush was used, the more plaque was present even after a thorough brushing. In short, if you continue to use your toothbrush past the 3-4 month guideline you aren't really doing yourself any favors. For the best plaque control, it's time to retire your old brush and break out one with fresh new plaque ready bristles.
2) Your Toothbrush Looks Beat Up
Of course, the three to four-month guideline is just that, a guideline. Not everyone brushes the same and not everyone has the same type of dental health. If your toothbrush starts to look beat up don't wait until three months to change. Go buy a new toothbrush and give your teeth a proper cleaning.
Signs that a toothbrush is on its way out include stiff bristles, a weak plastic neck, and bristles that shed in your mouth. You should not have to floss after brushing your teeth to get the bristles out. If your toothbrush is literally shedding in your mouth it's time to upgrade. The only thing you should taste in your mouth is your toothpaste.
3) Consider Changing Your Children's Brushes Frequently
With this in mind, you should keep an eye on the condition of your children's toothbrushes. Children tend to be rougher on their toothbrushes than adults. It is not uncommon for them to gnaw on the necks, chew on the bristles, and treat them roughly in general. Just consider for a minute how many times you have to dig them out of the sink and/or possibly off the floor.
If your child is not a delicate brusher, you may need to consider switching out their toothbrush every month or two. Remember, the dental plaque that builds up in their mouths now will follow them for the rest of their life. Start them off with healthy teeth and set them up for positive dental experiences for years to come.
4) Change Your Toothbrush if Sick
When you are sick, the last thing you worry about is your toothbrush, but it pays to think about it afterward. Bacteria and germs can live in the bristles of your toothbrush for days, and you can actually reinfect yourself by brushing with a diseased brush. If you have had the flu, a cold, strep throat, or similar infection it is a good idea to swap your brush out after you recover. Bacterial infections are usually the biggest offenders.
5) Change your Toothbrush if You Share
Share a cup of coffee in the morning with your spouse, share your hand towel in the morning with your child, or share a biscuit as you run out the door with the dog. Sharing is caring as a popular kid's television show says. But whatever you do, don't share your toothbrush.
Everyone's mouth has different bacteria, and teeth brushing is a very intimate and forceful way to exchange that bacteria. Believe it or not, you can actually transfer cavities and gum disease by sharing toothbrushes. If someone accidentally or purposely uses your toothbrush, smile politely and then toss it in the trash can.
6) Consider Buying Multiple Brushes or Getting a Toothbrush Subscription
If you have a busy lifestyle remembering to buy a new toothbrush every few months can be another annoying task. Simply forgetting is the number one reason why most people don't switch out their toothbrushes as much as they should.
You can fix this problem easily by taking one of two options. You can consider stocking up on brushes by buying multiple brushes at a time. We recommend the BamBrush Year Supply. This way you can simply grab one from storage when it is time for a new one. The presence of them in your bathroom drawer will also likely remind you to keep track of their lifespan.
Alternatively, you can consider signing up for our toothbrush subscription service. This way you don't have to worry about buying a new toothbrush or remembering to change your current brush. A new brush will automatically come in the mail when it is time to change. This can make it simple to keep your dental hygiene habits on track.