We’ve all heard the saying, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” You can go for years using the same appliances, wearing the same clothes, and driving the same cars. It isn’t until they break down or rip that you think about replacing them. What if we were to tell you that may be using something broken without even realizing it? There’s a reason that your dentist recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. Chances are, you may be overdue to get a new brush.

Time to Say Goodbye: Reasons to Replace Your Toothbrush

It can sometimes be difficult to tell when your toothbrush has exceeded its period of efficacy. The bristles may still be intact with little visible wear. However, the things that are going on inside those bristles, even after just three or four months, may surprise you:

  • Toothbrushes, obviously, are prime real estate for fungus, germs, and bacteria. Even with proper care, bacteria can build up in your bristles, making you more prone to illness or infection.
  • Similarly, if you or a family member has been sick, it may be a good idea to replace all of your brushes, even if they are still less than four months old.
  • Studies have shown that after 40 days of use, the bristles in both manual and electric toothbrushes become significantly less effective. When your brush is no longer effective at managing the plaque buildup on your teeth, you’re more likely to develop tooth decay or gum disease.

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Choosing Your Next Toothbrush

Regardless of what type of brush you use, the most important aspect of your at-home oral hygiene is that you brush for two minutes, twice a day. If you’re in the market for a new brush and are wondering which type is best for you, here are some quick facts:

  • Manual Toothbrushes
    • Manual toothbrushes have been around for a long time and have proven to be effective tools for prevention.
    • They are much more cost-effective than electric toothbrushes and are available for purchase in many more places.
    • Manual toothbrushes are lighter, more portable, and don’t need to be charged to work.
  • Electric Toothbrushes
    • Electric models have been proven to remove more plaque than manual brushes. This may be helpful if you are someone who is prone to quick plaque buildup and gingivitis.
    • People undergoing orthodontic treatment may want to consider an electric toothbrush, as it makes it easier to remove plaque and particles from orthodontic appliances.
    • Since electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you, they are a good option for people with limited mobility, such as those with carpal tunnel or arthritis.

Whether manual or electric, the important thing is to make sure that your toothbrush is able to do its job and keep your teeth clean. Once it’s lost its efficacy, it’s time to move on. Keep replacing your toothbrushes, keep brushing regularly, and enjoy your smile.

About the Author

Dr. Drew Addy is a lifelong learner. Growing up as the son of a dentist, he has spent his whole life learning the best ways to maintain oral health. He is a member of numerous national and California-based dental organizations, such as the ADA and San Diego Dental Society, and takes great pride in providing the latest in dentistry to his community. If you’d like to learn how to take your oral hygiene to the next level and see what other helpful tips he has, contact his office.

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