If you have been using the same toothbrush longer than six months, it is time for it to go. If you have recently had a cold, the flu, or strep throat, it is time for your toothbrush to go. If the bristles of your toothbrush are worn down and/or you see any sort of gunk that has accumulated on your toothbrush – it needs to go into the trash!
Old toothbrushes are a harboring ground for germs and bacteria, and they have no place entering your mouth to “clean” the teeth. In fact, using an old toothbrush is like taking a dirty rag to wash a mirror – it will do more harm than good. That is because toothbrushes are tools designed to remove bacteria and plaque from the teeth. The bristles on a toothbrush are intended to reach the nooks and crannies of the teeth and the spaces in between the teeth where food particles are left behind. Millions of naturally occurring bacteria work to break down these food particles, but if these bacteria are left on the teeth, they will wreck havoc on the enamel. That is why brushing is so vital to your oral health; combined with daily flossing, this is the only way to properly care for your teeth and gums.
However, using an old, dirty, bacteria-ridden toothbrush is not going to be effective for keeping your mouth clean. The American Dental Association recommends that people replace their toothbrush every three months, with six months being the absolute longest length of time that a toothbrush (or brush head) is used. Bacteria thrive in small, moist areas, and your toothbrush is an ideal breeding ground. Yes, you wash away a good many of the bacteria off your toothbrush when you rinse it after each use, but it will not eliminate all of them. Bacteria multiply in rapid succession, and your toothbrush can quickly become a dangerous tool that you do not want to put inside your mouth.
At Group Health Dental, all of our dental staff members understand the importance of replacing your toothbrush on a regular basis. We are happy to provide you with a new toothbrush every time you visit our practice for a cleaning and checkup. Take a look at your toothbrush before you put it in your mouth. If it is looking old, or you can’t remember how long it has been since you started using it – it is time for it to go!