With cold and flu season starting, germs seem to be lurking everywhere! While it’s difficult to avoid catching the office cold or flu bug, you can help keep your number one oral hygiene accessory in great shape by replacing your toothbrush regularly. Toothbrushes help keep your teeth and mouth clean, but how long should you a keep a toothbrush? It is recommended that you switch out that old toothbrush for a fresh new one every 3 to 4 months, and directly after any cold or flu. Replacing your toothbrush is essential since they are constantly being exposed to germs and bacteria. If you notice the bristles of your toothbrush have become worn, that is a clear sign that you need a new toothbrush. People who wear braces will likely need to replace their toothbrushes frequently, as braces break down and fracture bristles which makes the toothbrush lose its effectiveness.
It's helpful to keep a pack of toothbrushes available in the house at all times for easy replacement. You may be thinking "My toothbrush is fine, I have it broken in just the way I like it”. While that could be true, did you know that your old toothbrush could actually be harming your mouth?
3 Reasons to Change Out Your Old Toothbrush
1. Bacteria - Your toothbrush is a tool for removing bacteria from your teeth…but it doesn’t actually kill bacteria. Some of the bacteria from your teeth stay on your toothbrush after you are done brushing. Now, this isn’t a problem initially, but imagine three to four months of bacteria build up on your toothbrush. That old bacteria ridden toothbrush is in your mouth at least twice a day…yuck.
2. Bristles - Like any tool, a toothbrush wears down. Worn bristles are tough on your enamel and can wear it away over time. Not only that… an old, worn toothbrush can be up to 95 percent less effective at removing plaque.
3. Illness - Always change your toothbrush after you’ve been sick, even if it’s not “technically” time to switch out your toothbrush. Germs and bacteria in your mouth require you to brush twice a day, every day.
If you feel like changing your toothbrush every three months is wasteful, we’ve got a solution! Put that old toothbrush to work doing odd jobs around the house. Old toothbrushes are great for cleaning around facet fixtures and tile grout. They can even be used to clean tools, computer keyboards, and tennis shoes! Make sure to mark your calendar as a reminder to replace your toothbrush at least every 3 to 4 months. If you need a few tips on keeping your smile in tip-top shape, make sure to ask at your next appointment at TLS Orthodontics.