Your oral health is important, and a great way to maintain it is with regular dental exams and cleanings with your dental professional. But taking care of your teeth at home is crucial too! Your toothbrush is a powerful tool that can help preserve your smile, so keeping it in good condition is essential.
Part of this means knowing how often you should replace your toothbrush. Let’s explore proper toothbrush maintenance, including helpful brushing habits that contribute to a healthy smile.
Switching Out Your Toothbrush
Your toothbrush is the first line of defence against harmful bacteria that cause gum disease, tooth decay, and even bad breath. It can be difficult to pinpoint your toothbrush’s exact lifespan, but here are some general guidelines that can be helpful.
It’s generally recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3 – 4 months.
Brushing your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice daily is already doing wonders to protect your teeth from cavities. While a dental exam and cleaning are essential, brushing your teeth between each meal is just an extra step you can take to prevent tooth decay.
Through this consistent usage, the bristles in your brush will start to wear out. Once the bristles on your toothbrush lose their initial stiffness, you’ll have a pretty good indication that it’s time to run to the store and grab a new one.
It’s also recommended that you change your toothbrush when:
- You are recovering from a viral or bacterial infection
- Someone else used your toothbrush by accident
- Your children gnaw or bite down on their toothbrushes
- You notice your toothbrush is worn out before 3 months
However, in today’s technology-focused world, electric toothbrushes are more widespread than ever. Let’s look at the replacement schedule for your electric toothbrush.
Replacing Your Electric Toothbrush Head
Electric toothbrushes conveniently and efficiently clean your teeth by quickly rotating and vibrating.
Electric toothbrushes come with replaceable heads with the same nylon bristles as manual toothbrushes that wear down after regular use. However, these bristles tend to be shorter and, as such, wear down more quickly than manual toothbrushes. Because of this, plan to replace your electric toothbrush head at least every 3 months.
Your electric toothbrush packaging or dentist can help you better understand the replacement schedule. Taking care of your toothbrush the way you would any grooming or hygiene item is essential, whether manual or electric.
How Consistent Brushing Helps
Twice daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste is a crucial step in your oral hygiene routine because it removes plaque.
Plaque is a sticky substance that accumulates on your teeth when you eat or drink, especially foods with sugar. When plaque mixes with your saliva, it creates acid that can eat away at the enamel on your teeth.
Untreated plaque that’s left to build up and turn to tartar can lead to cavities, gum disease, infection, and tooth decay.
It’s important to remember your dentist is in your corner, and if you experience the following oral symptoms, visit your dental professional:
- Excessive bad breath, which may be an early sign of gum disease or other health concern
- Puffy or bleeding gums when you brush, which can signal gum disease
- Sensitive teeth, which can be a symptom of a cavity, gum disease, or damaged teeth
Preserving Your Oral Health
While you should try to brush after every meal, regular daily brushing and flossing are crucial for preserving your oral health in between routine dental cleanings. Your manual toothbrush should be replaced every 3 to 4 months or earlier if needed. Your electric toothbrush also needs a replacement head every 3 months or earlier.
Book an appointment with your dental professional to learn more about your toothbrush maintenance and replacement schedule.