It is easy to tell when to replace a torn shirt or some shrunken jeans, but knowing when to replace your toothbrush isn’t quite as obvious. Many factors, including your health, usage and preferences, come into play. Before you pick up that faded toothbrush again, here are some tips to decide if it is time for some new bristles.
Have You Been Sick?
The general rule is to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. By that time, your toothbrush will be loaded with more germs than you care to think about. That still may be waiting too long for some people. For instance, if you have been sick recently, it’s smart to by a new brush sooner than the normal time period. This rule also applies if anyone in your household has been sick as well. Toothbrushes stored near each other can easily transfer germs, so a shared family bathroom can be a breeding ground for sickness.
Is There Visible Wear and Tear?
Pay attention to the bristles of the toothbrush, if they are harshly frayed your oral hygiene will suffer. Fuzzy bristles are not able to pull out the food stuck in between your teeth, which can lead to plaque buildup or cavities. Based on your brushing frequency and how much pressure you apply, the bristles may wear out quicker than is common. Children usually brush their teeth more rigorously, so their toothbrushes should be replaced more often.
Replacing Your Toothbrush
When you do decide to replace your toothbrush, there are two main options you will be able to choose from: manual and electric. If you feel more comfortable using a manual toothbrush that is fine, but an electric toothbrush provides a better cleaning.
As the rotating bristles of the electric brush spin, they pull out lodged food from your teeth and provide more attention to your gums. Many electric brands even include sensors that will alert you if you push too hard or too softly.
Maintaining Your New Brush
Regardless of the model of toothbrush you choose to use, it is most important to keep it clean. After you are done brushing, it is best to wash all the excess saliva and toothpaste off your brush with cold water. When storing a toothbrush, always keep it in an upright position in order to let it air dry.