Your toothbrush is the essential care tool near your bathroom sink. You use it every day, and it is key to keeping cavities and plaque growth at bay. But what if that brush sits too long in the medicine cabinet while it is used day after day, far past its prime? Let’s examine what happens if you don’t change your toothbrush.
Your toothbrush, like many tools, is designed to be used for a certain period of time. It serves its purpose when used correctly, and then as it experiences wear and tear, it loses its effectiveness. In other words, nothing lasts forever. Don’t try to push your toothbrush past its lifespan. It will not clean as effectively as it should, which could lead to poor dental hygiene.
The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Of course, this is just a general guideline, and you may need to replace your brush more often than that. If the bristles look frayed or damaged, it is time to toss that brush out. Over time, all bristles break down, which is why the ADA uses that 3 to 4 month timeline to be safe. This is a good time to touch on another important point. Make sure you’re using your brush gently on your teeth. If you’re pressing the bristles hard into your gums and teeth, you’re not only wearing out the brush faster, you could also be damaging your teeth. In this case, damaged bristles a month or two after using a new brush could be a sign you need to change your habits and adopt a gentler brushing routine.
There is another risk to pay attention to aside from a brush losing its cleaning ability as the bristles age. Toothbrushes can also harbor bacteria, which is not an issue as long as the brush is new. Remember, your body is designed to fight bacteria, and there is simply no way to sterilize a brush to remove every single particle. But as the brush ages, it’s a good idea to replace it every so often so the bacteria growth doesn’t get out of hand. Make sure you’re letting your brush dry completely after every use. This limits bacteria growth and prevents other issues like mold growth from occurring. If you see any signs of mold on your toothbrush, discard it immediately.
This is not an advertisement for any specific product, but there are a few advantages to buying in bulk. First, it is more cost effective, and anytime you can save money on the dental care items you need, that’s certainly a victory. More importantly, you have the care products you need on hand, so you can easily replace them as needed. No forgetting to pick up that new toothbrush or electric toothbrush head next time you hit the store. You can simply throw away your old one and open a new one without any interruption to your daily routine. Just don’t forget to stock up periodically!
The moral of the story here is you don’t want to find out what happens if you don’t change your toothbrush! Stay on course with your oral hygiene, and swap out that brush ever 3 to 4 months. This will ensure you’re getting the best cleaning performance out of your brush, no matter if you use a traditional toothbrush or an electric one. Changing your toothbrush isn’t the only routine that leads to healthier teeth. Make sure to stay on schedule with checkups at your dentist. If you’re running behind, our friendly staff at Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry is eager to help. Contact us to schedule your next appointment today!