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How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

added on: May 29, 2020

There are some things in life that should last forever, or at least a really long time. Unfortunately, your toothbrush isn’t one of them. In fact, your dentist in Galesburg recommends swapping out your toothbrush every three (maybe four) months. But why is it important to get several new toothbrushes each and every year? Is it really that important? 

Short-Term Tools

The main purpose of a toothbrush is to gently and effectively remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from our teeth. However, after some time, toothbrush bristles tend to lose their shape as well as their effectiveness. When this happens, your toothbrush can no longer clean your teeth as well as it once did since the bristles can no longer get into each curve and crevice properly. So even if you brush your teeth every day, if you’re brushing with an old toothbrush, you may be missing spots, leaving you at an increased risk of decay. But that’s not all. Since we know our toothbrush is responsible for removing bacteria from our mouths, it’s only natural that some of them will end up lingering around on the bristles. If you never replace your toothbrush or wait too long to do so, you essentially reintroduce all that bacteria buildup into your mouth every time you brush.  This is why your dentist in Galesburg and the American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every three or four months. 

Signs It’s Time For a New Toothbrush

Even though the recommendation is to keep a toothbrush for three or four months, the truth is, there are times when you may need to replace it sooner than that. Here are some obvious ways to tell if it’s time to get a new toothbrush.  

Look at the bristles for any:

  • Fraying
  • Flattening
  • Crisscrossing
  • Discoloration

Any of the signs above is a clue that a new toothbrush should be in your near future.  

One other thing we need to mention is that you should always replace your toothbrush after a cold. Once you start feeling better, toss your toothbrush and get a new one to protect yourself from constant exposure to the germs that made you sick in the first place. 

Taking Care of Your Toothbrush

There are some easy ways you extend the life of your toothbrush to help make it last for the full three or four months.  

  • Rinse it thoroughly after each use
  • Don’t ever share your toothbrush
  • Let it air dry away from other toothbrushes and without a cover 
  • Don’t brush too hard — this helps protect your bristles from wear and tear

Brushing your teeth twice a day is only one part of maintaining good oral hygiene. You also need to make sure your toothbrush is in good shape so it can do its job properly. Additionally, it’s also crucial that you see your dentist in Galesburg every six months for a professional cleaning and exam.