Replacing Your Toothbrush: How Often You Should Do It
Because of its moist, dark environment, your mouth can be home to over 700 different types of bacteria. Many are easily dealt with and don’t cause very much trouble if you practice good dental hygiene. There are others, however, that can attach to your toothbrush and become major problems over a long period of time.
What’s Really Going on with Your Toothbrush?
The longer you use your toothbrush, the more bacteria and dirt it can collect. Much of it is microscopic which means you won’t even know it’s there. You can’t see it, but bacteria can thrive on your toothbrush, especially if you don’t rinse it properly after each use.
The Dangers of Using an Old Toothbrush
Using the same toothbrush for longer than just a few months can cause the bristles to become sharp and dangerous. Not only can the worn bristles start to irritate the gums and soft tissues of the mouth, they can also begin to scratch the delicate enamel that protects your teeth. Once the enamel is damaged, it can’t be repaired. This will leave your teeth susceptible to cavities and other types of damage that can eventually result in tooth loss.
Replacing Your Toothbrush
While some things get better with age, your toothbrush isn’t one of them. Most dental professionals recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months to prevent damaging your teeth and unnecessary exposure to harmful bacteria. Replacing your toothbrush every three to four months ensures that the surface of the bristles don’t have a chance to become damaged or frayed. If you’re unsure of when you last replaced your toothbrush, make the change now. Replacing it sooner than necessary is better than not replacing it at all.
Good oral hygiene requires the right tools and proper brushing techniques. Talk to your dentist about the type of toothbrush that is best for your teeth and what type of dental floss you should be using to clean the spaces in between. Make sure to schedule your annual dental visit on time each year to ensure that you’re taking the best possible care of your teeth.