How often should people change their toothbrushes? The American Dental Association recommends buying a new toothbrush every 12 to 16 weeks. This general guideline holds for electric and manual toothbrushes, but there are some considerations to keep in mind depending on the following:
- The type of toothbrush
- overall health
- brushing style
Why It's Important to Use a New Toothbrush
A new toothbrush is more effective at keeping teeth and gums clean. If people do not remove food particles from tooth surfaces, the acids that bacteria produce will eat away at their tooth enamel and cause plaque to build up. The tooth bristles keep the gum line clean to prevent gingivitis and gum disease.
When asking, "How often should people change their toothbrushes?" remember that the toothbrush alone will not keep the mouth healthy. Use dental floss and mouthwash in conjunction with tooth brushing.
Wear on the Bristles
The bristles can fray or weaken over time, which makes them less able to remove bacteria and food particles from tooth surfaces. Old bristles can scratch gums and make them more susceptible to infection. Replace electric toothbrushes after three months because the rapid movements of the brush head cause the bristles to wear out.
The Buildup of Bacteria or Viruses on Bristles
Even if people clean their toothbrushes diligently, bacteria will grow in the moist area between the bristles. If they get sick, their saliva could transmit bacteria and virus particles to the toothbrush. Once they recover from illness, they should replace their toothbrushes and replace the toothbrushes of family members as well.
How Long Do Different Types of Toothbrushes Last?
People have different options when buying a toothbrush. Manual toothbrushes are more economical and easier to carry around but do not provide additional brushing power. Electric toothbrushes are heavier and require brush replacements.
Other brands of toothbrushes, such as Sonicare and Waterpik, are more elaborate and promise a clean nearly as effective as a professional dental cleaning. Replace the bristles every three months or according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Other Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Toothbrush
- Wash the toothbrush thoroughly after each use.
- Rinse with mouthwash before brushing to remove food particles that might otherwise become stuck in the bristles of the brush.
- Avoid damaging the bristles by applying too much pressure on the brush head.
- Expose the toothbrush to the open air to dry it out because moisture breeds bacteria.
The Westchase Smiles Institute Promotes Oral Health Care and Education
The Westchase Smiles Institute is more than a dental clinic. They promote healthy and effective brushing, flossing, and dental health care habits in the Tampa, FL, community. They strive to protect patients and families from tooth decay and gum disease by educating them about proactive dental care and proper oral hygiene skills.
Prospective patients who have questions beyond "how often should people change their toothbrush?" they're ready to help. Call to make an appointment for a cleaning and initial consultation today.
Wondering if you should really rinse after brushing your teeth? Read more about it here.