It’s easy to become attached to familiar objects, and that includes the tools you use to clean your teeth. Like a comfortable pair of slippers, that toothbrush you use every night may have an easy, cozy feel you’re not ready to give up just yet. But at Thompson and Frey Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Owensboro, we want you to think twice, because that familiar toothbrush can be a threat to your dental health.
To put it simply, your toothbrush should be replaced from time to time. We recommend a new one every three months or so. You don’t have to circle your calendar, or set up an alert on your phone. But you do need to keep track of how long you’ve used a toothbrush and get a new one when the time comes.
If you keep using an old toothbrush, it is less effective at cleaning plaque off of your teeth and at the gumline. That much is obvious, because it’s easy to see the bristles bending out of shape.
But there are other things to consider. When you finish brushing your teeth, there is always some stuff that remains on your toothbrush. Over time it can breed and multiply. The average toothbrush, in fact, has more than one million bacteria particles. Most of them aren’t bad for you. But some are, and if you keep using that favorite old brush you re-introduce this bacteria into your mouth, over and over. Bacteria and food debris are what you are trying to get out of your mouth in the first place.
As if the preceding paragraph wasn’t enough, here’s one more thing to think about: your toothbrush can grow mold. That’s why we recommend keeping your brush in an open place where it can air dry. Even so, time takes its toll and mold can grow. If you notice any black spots on your toothbrush, replace it right away. It might be mold.
The bottom line? Replace your toothbrush every three months, if not more often. Always use a soft-bristled brush, too; they are easiest on your gums, but rigid enough to get plaque off the surfaces of your teeth. And don’t forget to floss.