We’re all taught to brush our teeth in the morning, before we go to bed and – sometimes – even during the day. That’s a lot of brushing for your bristles to go through in just a few short weeks. While brushing your teeth is good oral hygiene, did you know that brushing with an old brush may do more harm than good? You only have to visit the dentist twice a year, but you should replace your toothbrush once every 3-4 months to avoid easily preventable problems.
Risk of Infections
It’s no secret that germs are on just about every surface with which we come in contact. Your toothbrush is no exception. Despite brushing and rinsing at least twice a day, your toothbrush retains many of the germs from your mouth and the bathroom in general. If you used the brush when you had a cold, odds are your brush will still contain infectious bacteria that will make your healing time longer. An old toothbrush with contagious bacteria can also infect other brushes in the same holder and pass the sickness along.
Not Actually Cleaning Your Teeth
If you’re the type of brusher who aggressively scrubs their pearly whites, then you probably need to change your brush more often than every four months. The intense pressure you place on the bristles will cause them to fray and essentially become useless at cleaning. Frayed bristles are also tougher on your enamel and you can’t afford to damage something that doesn’t grow back.
RELATED: Develop An Oral Hygiene Routine
Potentially Exposed to Mold
People often place a cover over their toothbrush or store them in a dark container when not in use. Ditch the covers and cases! Dark, moist and enclosed spaces provide the perfect breeding environment for microorganisms to multiply and even infect your brush with mold. The longer you’ve had your brush in these containers, the more likely you will be exposed to mold.
Tips to Avoid Old Toothbrush Problems:
- This may be common sense, but don’t use an old toothbrush. Dentists don’t mind giving you an extra brush or two so take advantage of your next visit!
- Don’t think your spinbrush can get away from bacteria. You can also replace just the heads when you notice signs of wear and tear.
- Do yourself (and others sharing your toothbrush holder) a favor and just chuck your brush out after a cold.
- Replace fraying brushes.
- Don’t share your toothbrush! More than bacteria can be transferred from brush to brush and no one wants an unexpected cold sore.
- Let your brush air dry in an upright position to avoid mold.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash to sanitize your brush every so often.