How often should you change your toothbrush? The vast majority of Americans own and use toothbrushes on a daily basis, but most are unaware of how regularly they should replace them. An old toothbrush can harbor millions of germs, food particles, and other substances that can not only adversely impact your oral hygiene, but the health of your entire body. This article will explain how often you should replace your toothbrush.
About Every Three to Four Months
The American Dental Association recommends that we change our toothbrushes once every three to four months. After this period of time, moisture tends to soak into the bristles of the toothbrush, which can allow fungal and bacterial colonies to propagate more readily. Also, as a result of extensive usage, the bristles will become ragged and less functional. However, It should be noted that there are instances when it would be better to replace toothbrushes more frequently.
When The Bristles Are Worn
When you notice that the bristles of your toothbrush have grown damaged and frayed, it is time to replace your toothbrush. Depending on the quality of the toothbrush, as well as how frequently and aggressively it is used, it may not take months for this to happen. If it is in such a condition, the toothbrush will no longer be as effective of a cleaning tool. The flattened bristles will be unable to reach and properly scrub certain areas of the mouth, which can allow plaque to build up, leave food and sugar, and enable bacteria to rapidly reproduce. If this persists, it can result in dental caries, gingivitis, and other oral health issues.
When It Has Been Used By Another Person
Most people are rightfully disgusted by the very idea of others using their toothbrush. Sharing toothbrushes can lead to the spread of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, potentially endangering your overall health. These can include hepatitis, herpes, MRSA, thrush, periodontitis, and a number of other illnesses. Some believe that sharing intimate items like toothbrushes is not a problem so long as it is with those close to them, but this is a mistake. Being close to someone does not protect you from contracting any of the aforementioned maladies. If your toothbrush has been used by anyone else, it should be thrown away immediately and replaced.
After You Have Been Ill
If you have had a cold, flu, or any other transmissible illness, you should also change your toothbrush. While it is possible to clean the bristles by rinsing it with an antiseptic solution or hot water, it may ultimately be more prudent to replace it. Reusing the toothbrush may cause you to become infected all over again, and if it is stored near other people’s toothbrushes, it is possible the illness will be spread.
So, how often should you change your toothbrush? Well, if it has been used for three to four months, has damaged bristles, was used by someone else, or you used it while you were sick, it should be thrown out and replaced. Choosing to do otherwise can put your health and oral hygiene at risk.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Mountain View Dental.
Call us today at 385-324-3557 to schedule an appointment at our comfortable dental office.