All the food that we consume during the day contains starches and sugars. When bacterial plaque combines with sugars and starches, an acid is produced.
It attacks our tooth enamel, which leads to tooth decay. Bacterial plaque, which is a sticky substance that forms on the teeth, can also irritate our gums and causes gum disease.
In the beginning stages of gum disease, your gums can become swollen, red, tender and bleed. If bacterial plaque is not removed, the gums can start to pull away from the teeth.
Teeth whitening procedures involve both flossing and brushing of the teeth with the use of special dental tools.
This procedure allows getting rid of any bacterial plaque that has built up on the surface of your teeth. However, it is still extremely important to floss and brush your teeth on a regular basis.
In order to maintain proper oral health, dentists recommend using a toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste.
Brushing your teeth does not only help to prevent tooth decay but it also helps to prevent gum disease, which is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults.
Gum disease has also been linked to strokes and heart attacks. The added benefits of brushing your teeth are removing tooth stains and avoiding bad breath.
However, most of us are aware of the fact that toothbrushes are meant to last forever. It can be extremely hard to identify when the bristles are nearing the end of the natural lifespan.
According to dentists’ recommendations and manufacturer guidelines, your toothbrush should be replaced every 12 to 16 weeks.
In some cases, it might be needed to replace a toothbrush sooner. Your dental health can be affected if you do not change your toothbrush when needed.
How Often Does A Toothbrush Need To Be Changed?
Your toothbrush is the first thing that can fight against the bacteria. Bacterial plaque is known for causing gum disease, bad breath as well as tooth decay.
The easiest way to navigate the smaller spaces in your mouth is by using straight bristles and easy-to-grip handle. Old food and bacteria can be effectively removed by a soft bristle brush.
You are already taking steps to protect your teeth from cavities if you follow simple recommendations of brushing your teeth for two minutes twice per day.
An extra step that can be taken to protect tooth decay is brushing your teeth between each meal as well as after a sugary snack.
If you utilize your toothbrush twice per day it is considered normal wear-and-tear. AT this rate of use, you can expect your bristles to start to fall out and become twisted within around 3 months.
According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, toothbrushes need to be replaced every 3 to 4 months or whenever they appear to be getting worn out.
Your toothbrush is ready to be thrown away when its bristles start to lose their stiffness. Without proper stiffness of the bristles, your toothbrush loses its effectiveness.
How Often Do You Need To Change An Electric Toothbrush Head?
The surface of your teeth are cleaned by quickly rotating the head of an electric toothbrush. These heads still have nylon bristles that can wear after regular use.
In addition to that, these bristles are shorter than in a regular toothbrush meaning that they may get worn more quickly.
You should anticipate to change the head of your electric toothbrush every 12 weeks and sometimes even earlier.
Carefully watch the condition of the bristles in order to know when it is time to throw a brush head.
What Are Other Reasons For Changing The Toothbrush?
In case you or your family member have been sick, it would be a great idea to replace your toothbrush as well as a toothbrush of everyone else in the house.
Bacterial and viral infections such as strep throat are of major concern and are a perfect reason to replace the old toothbrush with the new one.
Family dentists add that toothbrushes for children should be replaced more often than every 3 months as they mash on a toothbrush head or gnaw the handle.
Make sure you watch your child when they brush their teeth. This needs to be done for the purpose of ensuring that they do not expose their brush head to any other surface besides their teeth.
It might be also the case that someone else can use your toothbrush by mistake. If this happens, you should get rid of it immediately.
How To Take Care Of A Toothbrush?
If you want to make the most out of your toothbrush, you should take care of it properly. As was already mentioned, it is not recommended to share your toothbrush with anyone else, even with members of your family.
If you store your toothbrush in a container or a cup with other toothbrushes, you need to make sure that heads do not touch each other.
Every time you finish brushing your teeth, you should rinse your toothbrush with tap water. Keep in mind that there is no need to use a mouthwash, disinfectant or hot water to sanitize it.
Germs can spread if you try sanitizing your toothbrush. It is also not needed to use a special container to keep your toothbrush clean when it is not used.
These containers are believed to spread bacteria and encourage mold growth.
What Can Happen If You Use A Toothbrush Beyond Its Recommended Lifespan?
As was mentioned above, every time the bristles of a toothbrush get exposed to chemicals and water, they become weaker. The bristles can twist and band into a new shape, which is known as “bristle flaring”.
Studies showed that after 40 days of consistent use, bristles start to lose their effectiveness.
People under the study who did not replace their toothbrush after 40 days of consistent use experience considerably more plaque buildup.
It has been scientifically proven that older toothbrushes are less effective in removing plaque, which could cause gum disease and tooth decay.
To conclude the aforementioned, it can be said that your toothbrush is a crucial oral hygiene tool.
In order to maintain proper condition of your toothbrush, you should not let anyone else use it. In addition to that, it is recommended to store it upright and let it air dry.
Top dentists recommend replacing a toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. You can mark your calendar on the date of the purchase so it becomes easier to remember when your toothbrush needs a replacement.
Keep in mind that brushing your teeth is the foundation of proper oral hygiene. The American Dental Association (ADA) emphasizes on the fact that both manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes are effective at removing oral plaque that can cause gum disease or tooth decay.
Manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes both have their advantages and disadvantages.
If you want to be sure that either an electric or manual toothbrush is safe and effective you will have to look for a Seal of Acceptance, which the American Dental Association puts on them.
If you have any oral conditions, it is better to check with your dentist first. He/she will be able to assist you in finding the right toothbrush for your situation.