Brushing our teeth is the most important aspect of maintaining oral health, but using the same toothbrush for an extended period of time may backfire. When should we toss out old reliable?
The toothbrush is the most important aspect to keeping good oral health; but what happens when we use a single toothbrush for too long? Many people use their toothbrush for nearly a year, and in some cases, even longer!
These people think their toothbrush is still usable until the bristles have fallen off. However, this is definitely not the case. This also depends on the quality of the toothbrush, and whether or not it is electric vs. standard.
We will be covering the recommended length of how long is safe to use a toothbrush, in the assumption it’s used three times each day, and will also be covering a few great daily oral health regimens. Let’s take a look at this and learn what’s best for our teeth.
How Long Can We Use A Single Toothbrush For?
The standard time recognized by most dentists is roughly 12-16 weeks. This prevents bacteria from building up on the toothbrush, and ensures that the bristles stay strong and straight so that they can penetrate in between the teeth deep enough so they are able to remove food and plaque build-up. A toothbrush with bent bristles will fail at this process, and if used for more than the recommended 12-16 weeks, can begin to build up bacteria and cause oral disease or infection.
The above 12-16 weeks holds a similar truth for electric toothbrushes, although they could bend faster due to the bristles typically being shorter, so keep an eye on them and watch for any fraying. Using electric toothbrushes also means that you can buy replacement heads instead of junking the entire toothbrush, which are typically pretty cheap and easy to replace.
What If You’ve Been Sick?
This is an important aspect to remember, because not only do you leave germs on your toothbrush when you are sick, which could be bacteria and viruses, but other individuals who use the same bathroom could also have sneezed or coughed and may spread germs onto the bristles. Germs can last a long time, especially in a wet environment, so if you or someone else is or has been sick, then it is a good idea to change the toothbrush immediately.
The ideal time when you should change the toothbrush in this situation is when you have recovered or after you’ve discovered someone has been sick and has used that bathroom, at which point the toothbrush should be stored elsewhere until this person is no longer contagious. On a side note, keeping a bristle cover over your toothbrush will prevent random bacteria that floats throughout the air from landing on the bristles — such as poop particles, yikes!
Implement this into your daily regimen
The standard amount usually recommended in terms of how many times we should brush our teeth daily is between two to three times each day, depending on our eating habits. Brushing the teeth helps to remove food, bacteria and plaque buildup, all of which can cause tooth erosion, mouth disease and other negative results.
Flossing is often a forgotten aspect of proper oral health, but it is a very crucial part to say the least. Make sure to floss daily so that you may remove stuck debris in between the teeth that cannot usually be reached by the bristles of a regular toothbrush, which will assist in taking away the chance of food, plaque and bacteria build-up.
Brushing and flossing reaches almost all areas of the mouth, but there are still some areas unreachable. This is why mouthwash is a great addition to your daily regimen, as mouthwash will ensure all areas are reached, and will further kill any bacteria that may still be present within the mouth, such as near the back of the tongue, and even in the tonsils, which occasionally may naturally grow what are known as tonsil stones.
Although it may be easy to say “My toothbrush works just fine!” and leave it at that, this can end up costing you big in terms of oral health, appearance and financial cost; all of which can be avoided by simply tossing out the old toothbrush with a new one every couple of months. A small price to pay for an almost endless funnel of dentistry bills and heartache.