How Long Can I Use a Toothbrush?

In the early 1960s, Public Health Dentistry started advertising character toothbrushes and kinds of toothpaste on television. They promoted proper oral hygiene habits through our dentists, as well as educating us about the routine of brushing three times a day by brushing up and down at the gum line in circular motions. They also advocated for using brightly colored toothbrushes and character-based toothpastes to help make brushing fun. Typically, after meals and at bedtime are the suggested times of day to brush. If that routine becomes consistent, then changing the toothbrush at every season of the year will be part of that routine as well. At the beginning of spring, summer, fall, and winter are the times to remember throwing out the old one and bringing in a new one. Here’s what to know about brushing habits and how to stay on top of them.

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Buy?

There are several types of toothbrushes on the market. Although there might be slight differences in brands, soft bristle brushes are essential to good oral health. Many people tend to brush aggressively, and a hard or medium bristled brush can erode the enamel and root structure at the gumline. Symptoms of this can be sensitivity to temperature differences and pressure. Manual toothbrushes are usually the kind that have an option for bristle type. Most battery-operated toothbrushes are soft-bristled. Whether you have a manual or battery-operated one, it should still be changed at least four times a year or after any illness has passed.

How Do I Know When To Change My Toothbrush?

In general, your toothbrush should be changed four times a year. The American Dental Association suggests every season as an easy reminder to change your toothbrush. This idea is similar to changing the batteries in your smoke detectors at daylight savings time changes. Other identifiers to change your toothbrush are visible wear. When you see that the bristles are worn down and frayed, it’s time to change them. Another rule to go by is the disposal of toothbrushes after you have been sick with a cold or flu. Even if it isn’t visibly worn down, keeping a toothbrush after a viral or bacterial infection can lead to re-infection or continued illness.

What Should I Look For In A Toothbrush?

When you’re buying a new toothbrush, be sure to find the American Dental Association (ADA) stamp of approval on the package. All items that have this stamp on them will have been through some testing to make sure they are a recommended product. It’s a stamp like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides with certain vitamins and foods. Be sure to get the right replacement heads if you have a battery-operated brush. Nothing is worse than getting home and finding out you purchased the wrong replacement head. Manual toothbrushes need to be sealed in the package and again be labeled as soft bristles.

Schedule a Consultation

Our expert team can help make sure you’re taking the right steps for your oral health. To learn more and meet with our dentists, we invite you to contact our Cincinnati office by calling or filling out our online form.

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