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Photo: kimbroughdental.com

You can change your car oil every 3,000 miles. You can purchase a new mattress every eight years. But it can be hard to figure out the time we need to replace our old toothbrush. Here’s what you need to know about replacing your toothbrush and what can happen if you don’t.

Why Is It Important To Change Your Toothbrush

The toothbrush can only do an effective job if it gets into the recesses and fine spaces between the teeth. Once the bristles of the toothbrush become tattered, frayed and bent, it can no longer do the job it was designed for.

Each time a toothbrush is being used, the pressure and friction cause the bristles — which were at an even height originally — to become uneven, resulting in a ragged toothbrush head. The rutted, sharp bristles can start wearing down the enamel and scraping away gum tissue, leaving the mouth vulnerable to further damage.

If you don't change your toothbrush, it can cause gum disease. Signs of early gum disease (gingivitis) include but are not limited to red, swollen gums or tender and bleeding gums, and bad breath. If you don’t take care of gum disease in its earliest stages, it can damage as far down to your bones, which means you can start losing your teeth.

Furthermore, it can cause tooth decay unless you change new toothbrush regularly. Bacteria and leftover food can combine together to form plaque on teeth, which is a sticky, bacteria-containing biofilm. This plaque then feeds off sugar and starch from the food you eat to produce acids which, in turn, can erode the outer enamel layer of your teeth and lead to cavities and even tooth loss.

When To Change Your Toothbrush

Manual toothbrushes

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Photo : builddirect.com

If you follow the standard recommendation of brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice per day, you’re already taking steps to protect your teeth from cavities.Brushing your teeth between each meal and after a sugary snack is an extra step you can take to be proactive about preventing tooth decay.

Brushing two or more times per day is still considered standard for a manual toothbrush. At this rate of use, manufacturers and dentists recommend that you should change your toothbrush every 12 – 16 weeks to maintain a consistent level of oral hygiene. Replacing it beyond 16 weeks can negatively affect your oral health and leave your mouth open to bacteria and infection.

An electric toothbrush head

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Photo: reviewed.com

Electric toothbrush heads clean the surface area of your teeth by quickly rotating or vibrating. These toothbrush heads still have nylon bristles that can wear after regular use. What’s more, those bristles are shorter, which means that they may fray more quickly. You should only use spinning toothbrush heads for a maximum of 12 weeks, and then replace it with a fresh one. Watch for signs of wear and tear on the bristles to know when it’s time to say goodbye to a brush head.

How to Take Care of Your Toothbrush

To make the most out of your toothbrush, take care of it the way you would any personal grooming or hygiene tool.

Don’t share your toothbrush with someone else, even members of your immediate family. If your toothbrush is stored in a cup or container with other toothbrushes, try not to let the heads touch each other.

While not in use, keep your toothbrush in an upright position so that the bristles can air dry. When you store a moist toothbrush in a closed container, it promotes microbial growth.

Children should have their toothbrushes changed more often than adults, as they tend to gnaw on the handle or squeeze the toothbrush head between their teeth. You should also ensure that they are rinsing their toothbrush thoroughly in case they expose the bristles and brush head to surfaces other than their teeth.

If you see this article useful and have more interesting tips, share it with us in the comment section.

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