Ideally, you should maintain the habit of brushing your teeth every morning and night. Although many people may know the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth, many may not be aware of how often they should replace their toothbrush. Three months is the standard amount of time before you should switch it out, but it may need to be replaced sooner depending on a few factors.
Did you know a single toothbrush head can have over one hundred million bacteria living on it? It seems like common sense to cover the head of your toothbrush with a cap after you use it to protect it from dust, accidental touches, or questionable bathroom water splashes. However, a cap will inevitably trap moisture and encourage the production of harmful microorganisms, namely Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause infection and be far worse than those other concerns. It is best practice to rinse your toothbrush after you use it and store it uncovered and in an upright position so that it can dry. Toothbrush cases may be convenient while traveling, but consider using a disposable toothbrush for travel for the cleanest experience.
Bacteria and viruses can survive many days on a toothbrush and can be passed to other people just by having the toothbrush close to other toothbrushes. The flu virus, cold sores, E. coli, Candida (yeast), hepatitis (A, B, and C), and even gum disease can be easily transferred, spreading the illness to everyone in your household. When you are sick, use a disposable toothbrush for the duration of your cold, and store it away from other toothbrushes. Replace your toothbrush once you are well.
With consistent use, your toothbrush bristles will become worn and frayed, which makes them less effective. You should change your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three months, but if you notice any fraying, you should replace it as soon as possible. Be sure to keep an eye on children’s toothbrushes as well, since children sometimes tend to brush their teeth more vigorously. Remember: when in doubt, switch it out; and keep extra toothbrushes on hand, so you don’t have to make a special trip to the store.
If you would like to learn more ways to keep bacteria and illness at bay, schedule a consultation with Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands by calling (818) 306-5153 or by filling out our online contact form today.