How often do you change your toothbrush? It is normal for us to restock essential minerals and vitamins, change beauty products and get rid of expired food. Unfortunately, our dental hygiene often gets the least amount of attention compared to other areas of our routine.

Fortunately, we are here to help. Below are general tips and guidelines you should follow to maintain optimal dental health.

When to change your toothbrush

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should change your toothbrush every 3 months. Due to frequent use, toothbrushes go through the usual wear and tear. Over time, they become ineffective to perform their primary duty, which is getting rid of plaque from teeth and gums. Various studies show that bristles start to break down after 3 months, making the toothbrush lose its effectiveness and value.

Another concern that is often overlooked is that germs can hide and build up in the toothbrush’s bristles. As such, there are various circumstances that may prompt you to change your toothbrush.  For instance, if you get a bacterial infection such as strep throat, consider changing your toothbrush. Otherwise, there is a high possibility of reinfection.

Improper storage of toothbrushes, for instance, in a closed container, can cause bacteria and fungus to develop and accumulate over time. Ensure you rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after use to remove any remaining paste and debris. Store toothbrushes in an upright position after use and allow them to air dry. Try not to let the heads or bristle touch another used toothbrush. When traveling, pack your dry toothbrush in a travel container to protect it from germs.

Regardless of your toothbrush’s age, it may be necessary to replace it once the bristles start to bend or look frayed. If the bristles on the head of the brush are pointing in all sorts of directions, they won’t have the same cleaning effect on your teeth as a new toothbrush.

What happens if you don’t change your toothbrush regularly?

It is important to note that a toothbrush can become a breeding ground for bacteria and all kinds of microorganisms such as fungus. Pathogens aren’t the only concern; replacing a toothbrush is very cheap compared to medical and dental treatment for conditions that can be avoided by using a new toothbrush.

For instance, old toothbrushes may not effectively remove dental plaque, which causes gingivitis or tooth decay. Lack of medical attention at this stage can lead to the tooth falling out, bad breath, and other ailments.

Key things to keep in mind when shopping for dental products

If you are thinking about taking your dental health a notch higher by doing all dental hygiene shopping, it is important to involve your dentist. That way, you can get advice and recommendations on the best product to purchase, based on your individual dental health state.

It is also crucial to follow your dentist’s guidelines on home dental care. The dentist may recommend using fluoride toothpaste twice a day, daily flossing, or using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Additionally, if you’ve never used an electric toothbrush, consider purchasing one. Various studies show that an electric toothbrush is more efficient compared to a manual toothbrush in terms of eliminating teeth staining, removing plaque, and reducing gingivitis. It also reduces the amount of plaque on the teeth among people who already have periodontal disease.