- Published Date: 16 Jul 2020
- Updated Date: 03 Sep 2020
- Reading Time: 6 min
Looking after your teeth is very important, especially as we only get the one set of adult teeth, so it’s essential we do everything possible to keep them healthy. Toothbrushes are great tools for helping clean our teeth, but they don’t last forever. It’s very important to change your toothbrush when you’re able, but when is the right time to change it?
When Should You Change A Toothbrush?
Your toothbrush is going to help get all the food particles that are leftover from any meal you have. They can help prevent gum disease as well as helping with bad breath that can form from not brushing your teeth enough. When you first get a toothbrush, the bristles are going to be straight, and that’s how you want them to be to brush your teeth effectively. Make sure when you buy toothbrushes, they have a soft bristle and that they are easy to grip when it comes to holding it. A lot of the food can sit around the base of your teeth, so it’s important to get all sides of the tooth when you’re cleaning them.
On average, two minutes is the recommended time when it comes to cleaning your teeth. You should be cleaning them after every meal, and it’s important you do this when it comes to having invisible aligners. You want to make sure you’re brushing your teeth before replacing the aligners in your mouth. Otherwise, you are going to get a build-up of that food and bacteria in your mouth that could hinder the overall health of your teeth and gums.
Brushing 2-3 times a day is recommended, and you should ideally replace a toothbrush when the bristles have started to bend, become mangled or started to fall out. This usually happens within a three month period. If you want to be extra safe, go by the 3-4 month rule unless the bristles are visibly worn out. When you get a new toothbrush, you shouldn’t necessarily be too surprised by how straight the bristles are. If you are, then chances are you were using your old brush for too long.
What About An Electric Toothbrush?
With electric toothbrushes, they can often be more effective in helping to clean your teeth faster and more efficiently. The toothbrush heads are usually replaceable when it comes to electric toothbrushes, and it’s important to get these replaced just like you would for a traditional toothbrush. The electronic ones work by quickly rotating and vibrating, which means you could get extra cleaning abilities out of it whilst also moving the brush too. These toothbrush heads have bristles that can still wear after regular use, and so it’s important to keep an eye on how they look.
Again, the most typical thing to notice when it comes to bristles being unusable is that they’ve splayed out from the straight form they had before. And because electric toothbrush heads tend to be shorter, they will likely fray and get worn down quicker. It’s likely best to replace these toothbrush heads every 12 weeks, but some might suggest even earlier. They may have a shorter lifespan than traditional toothbrushes, but they can end up being more productive in removing all the debris and bacteria in your mouth. Most electric toothbrushes will come will multiple heads in the starter pack, and then it’s simply a case of repurchasing the heads when you need them.
Electronic toothbrushes can be more of an investment. However, it’s something that’s worth doing if you want to make brushing easier on you and to also take extra care of your teeth.
How To Make Your Toothbrush Heads Last
There are likely other reasons why you might want to throw out a toothbrush before the 3-4 month mark. It could be that you’ve been recently sick or perhaps a family member or partner has been sick, and therefore there could be potential contamination across all toothbrushes. You certainly don’t want to risk passing on anything you have or that another family member has either. With younger children, it might be worth keeping an eye on the health of a toothbrush, especially as some might have a habit of damaging there’s earlier on than usual. As well as that, you do have occasions where toothbrushes can get dropped onto the floor or into something. If you think it might be harmful to carry on brushing, make sure to bin it.
In order to take care of your toothbrush and to get the most out of it, it’s important to know a few handy tips. Firstly, try not to chew on the bristles or clamp down on it at any point. This can compromise the rigid shape of the bristles and could damage them. They could then fall out a lot quicker and become worn a lot quicker too. Try not to share your toothbrush with anyone else, even if it’s with your partner. As close as you may be with a family member or partner, you don’t want to be picking up any unwanted bacteria, especially anything that has been sitting on their teeth or gums.
Make sure you dry off your toothbrush before putting it back into its holder or container. The reason for this is that the damp bristles can become damaged. You also have a lot of leftover salivae that will travel down to the bottom of the toothbrush and form a smelly substance, which you don’t want. Try to avoid storing your toothbrushes in containers because this can encourage mold to grow, and it’s not something you want forming on the bottom of your toothbrushes. If you were to put your toothbrush in upside down, it could be collecting a lot of foul bacteria that you don’t want to be putting in your mouth.
The Dangers Of Using A Toothbrush Beyond Its Lifespan
Many of us can be capable of using our toothbrushes past the recommended lifespan. It’s worth knowing the dangers that can come from using a toothbrush for too long without replacing. Firstly, when the bristles wear down, they become less effective. The bristles won’t have the strength to pushing in between your teeth and down at the base to help clean out all the food particles. And this is probably the most important feature when it comes to using a toothbrush.
Every time you are using the toothbrush, the bristles are exposed to chemicals within the toothpaste you use and water. They’ll only naturally get weaker, and so it’s important to replace them as soon as possible. Those who use their toothbrush beyond the recommended time will likely have more plaque build-up as a result, and this can lead to tooth decay that’s irreversible if it starts creating cavities in the tooth itself.
What Else Should You Be Using For Your Oral Hygiene?
As well as toothbrushes, they’re not the only thing that is worth including in your oral cleaning routine. The toothpaste you use is worth considering because some are going to perform better for your teeth than others. When you have sensitive teeth, you’re going to want to pick a brand or type of toothpaste that’s going to be gentle on your teeth. It might be that this is the case when it comes to having any extreme work done on your teeth or where you have exposed nerves in the tooth.
You should also think about the mouthwash and floss that you use too. As much as toothbrushes can be effective, floss is thinner and therefore, able to get right in between the teeth. You want to be gentle when it comes to flossing so that you don’t do any accidental damage to the gum area. However, you will certainly notice a difference if you start using floss more.
Having a healthy-smelling breath is also important, whether it’s first thing in the morning or late at night. This can be helped by using mouthwash as part of your routine. Mouthwash is a disinfectant for your mouth, and it can help eliminate any existing bacteria in the mouth and on the tongue, where a lot of the bad breath can come from. By using both mouthwash and floss after every brush, you are likely to improve the health of your teeth and gums for longer.
We all want to look after our teeth and do everything possible to help keep our natural teeth in place. This can certainly be helped by using a toothbrush and making sure to change out your toothbrush every 3 – 4 months. If it helps, note it down when you started using it and look out for the visible signs of wearing. Make sure you also brush for the recommended amount of time and to brush between 2 to 3 times a day. It’s important to also pay particular care when you have aligners or braces fitted to ensure you are brushing correctly and keeping your teeth clean while they help your teeth. Prioritize the health of your teeth, just like you would for the rest of your body.
Melanie/ 10 Nov 2021
Thanks for clarifying how long you could use your toothbrush before getting a new one. I have always heard 3 months, but heard some people say 6. To be honest, I forget a lot of times and I probably really only change it twice a year, which I know isn’t good. Now I will remember to change it every 3 or 4 months.