The humble toothbrush. It’s a small instrument with a huge impact: it’s your first line of defense against plaque and gingivitis. Along with flossing, brushing two to three times per day can help to prevent costly problems. Using your toothbrush can help you avoid the dental drill, root canals, fillings, and gum disease treatments.
But here’s the problem: Many adults forget to replace their toothbrush after it has worn out and doesn’t work any more. It can even have microscopic life growing on it. So, let’s make sure that you understand when to replace your toothbrush and how to pick a new one.
Why Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?
When a toothbrush gets too old, the bristles are no longer good at fighting off plaque—which is a film of bacteria and fungus that sticks to your teeth.
After sticking to your teeth, plaque can then infect your gums, which can become red, inflamed, painful, and even bloody. Your gums can also become ineffective at supporting your teeth, putting your smile at risk.
Plus, bacteria and fungus can grow on the toothbrush itself. Instead of cleaning your teeth, you could be applying more microbes to your teeth when you brush!
A toothbrush has to be carefully rinsed, dried, stored upright, and kept away from other toothbrushes, every time. Even then, particles from a nearby toilet can fly into the air after each flush and settle on the toothbrush.
Signs It’s Time for a New Toothbrush
A simple rule is just to replace your toothbrush every three months. That’s often when the bristles get too worn out to clean plaque effectively. You can put a reminder in your smartphone about it.
You can also replace your toothbrush if you’ve been sick with a cold or flu. The virus could be hiding on your toothbrush, waiting for a time to strike again.
If you’re not sure of the date of your last toothbrush purchase, look carefully at the bristles and head. If the bristles have been severely bent, they’re probably too old. Other signs include the bristles looking worn or frayed and the bristles changing color.
What To Look for in a New Toothbrush
You should always consult with your dentist about dental questions. If you have an exam or cleaning soon, ask about the type of toothbrush he or she recommends for you, because this can change based on your unique mix of tooth and gum health needs.
In general, your dentist will likely tell you to look for softer bristles. Hard ones can actually wear down your tooth enamel and harm your gums. Also, the head of your toothbrush should be big enough to cover a tooth or two at once.
One last idea is to get an electric toothbrush, which could fight plaque, staining, and gingivitis better than a traditional one.
Schedule a Visit with Dr. Rosenfeld Today for a Clean Smile
When you schedule your regular cleanings with Dr. Robert Rosenfeld, he can give you specific toothbrush recommendations based on your individual needs.