We were not taught to change our toothbrushes as often as we change our socks, but then again, there is no need to use a new toothbrush every day. However, many of us often forget to change our toothbrush at all, or at least for a very long time. While it seems there is no harm in that, let’s think this over. Toothbrushes are used to clean bacterial plaque, sugar, and food debris from our teeth twice a day. That means, even if we rinse our toothbrush thoroughly in hot water, there is no doubt that some of these…err…items…may still buildup. While wearing a clean pair of socks every day can make a huge difference regarding how your feet smell, changing out your toothbrush can make a difference in your health. Is it time for you to replace your toothbrush?
Wear and Tear
If you’re brushing twice a day, as the American Dental Association recommends, to help avoid tooth decay, then your toothbrush is getting a lot of wear and tear. Some of the wear you may see, other types you may not. For instance, there can be microscopic fraying on the very ends of the bristles; the very ends that come into contact with your teeth. However, if you can see that the bristles are getting bent, worn, or frayed then it’s past time to get a new toothbrush.
A rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush after any illness including a cold, the flu, or a cold or canker sore. A toothbrush can harbor bacteria and the herpes virus for days, so by reusing it after an illness you are chancing re-infecting yourself. You may have heard that you can disinfect your toothbrush using boiling water, mouthwash, or by putting it in the dishwasher or microwave. Not only can this harm the toothbrush and its bristles, these methods have never been proven. To be on the safe side, treat yourself to a new toothbrush at least every three months.