It’s easy to know when to replace worn-out shoes or faded clothes because there are telltale signs that demonstrate to you when it’s time to throw them out. With rips, tightness, and faded designs, there are many ways to help you figure out when it’s time to go shopping. However, what about other items we purchase when the signs aren’t so easy to tell when it’s time to get rid of something, especially when it comes to dental care? For instance, how often should you change your toothbrush? The simple answer is that it all depends on your usage, health, and preferences. Before you brush again, ask yourself whether it is time for a new toothbrush.
WHEN TO GET A NEW TOOTHBRUSH
First, the general rule is that you should replace a toothbrush every three to four months. Consider getting a new toothbrush sooner if you have been sick, especially if the toothbrush is stored close to other toothbrushes. When in doubt, look at the bristles. If they are frayed, they won’t clean teeth as thoroughly. Children often brush more rigorously than adults, so they may need their toothbrushes replaced more often.
TYPES OF TOOTHBRUSHES
There are two styles of toothbrushes to consider when you are looking to purchase a new toothbrush: manual and electric. Choose what feels comfortable and makes you want to brush your teeth regularly. Some people enjoy the easy use of manual toothbrushes and others like to use electric toothbrushes because you don’t have to worry about reaching those impossible areas. A manual toothbrush is portable and ready to use every time you need it. It makes no noise, and you will have complete control over the pressure it puts on your teeth and gums.
An electric toothbrush requires charging and is a bit more cumbersome to take along when traveling. However, the rotating movement of the bristles makes it easier to clean between teeth and at the gum line. Many electric toothbrushes have built-in sensors to make sure you brush long enough and don’t press too hard.
MAINTAINING YOUR TOOTHBRUSH
No matter which type of toothbrush you use, keep it clean. The American Dental Association recommends rinsing the toothbrush under tap water after you brush to wash away lingering toothpaste and saliva. Then, store the toothbrush in a vertical position, with the bristles positioned so they can air dry.
Storing a toothbrush in a closed container can cause bacteria to build up, so it’s best to let the bristles of the toothbrush fully dry between each usage. If you’re traveling, consider using disposable toothbrushes during the trip.
How often should you change your toothbrush? Get into the habit of buying new toothbrushes for everyone in the family several times per year. How often you change your toothbrush depends on several factors, but it’s best to always have a new, fresh toothbrush waiting in the bathroom cabinet for each family member.