When to change your toothbrush, according to experts

A toothbrush is one of the most-used items in the house and yet most of us are clueless as to how often we should be replacing it—here’s what the experts have recommended.

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We should all be going to the dentist at least once a year, but if you want to avoid frequent trips to the clinic having good oral hygiene is a must. Oral health care practices like brushing twice a day and flossing keep the bacteria under control and can prevent infections like gum disease and tooth decay. But if you’re brushing your teeth with a toothbrush that you’ve been using for months on end, it might not be as effective.

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How often should you change your toothbrush?

That depends on a variety of different things, but the most important is the shape of the bristles. If they are still straight and tidy then your brush will probably still be able to get all the accumulating gunk off your teeth. However if the bristles are beginning to look frayed, it’s probably time for a change.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months. They state on their website:

Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or sooner if the bristles look worn out. This is because a worn-out toothbrush may not work as well, not because it might carry more germs.

How to take care of your toothbrush

Here are some tips that the American Dental Association recommends you use:

  • Do not share toothbrushes. It can lead to an exchange of fluids and microorganisms between people.
  • Rinse the toothbrush thoroughly after each use to remove any remaining paste or debris.
  • Store toothbrushes in an upright position after use and allow them to air dry. If you keep a wet toothbrush in a closed container, it can increase microbial growth.
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