Family dentist Dr. Tamatha C. Pantano, DMD says a toothbrush is an essential tool for the maintenance of good oral hygiene. But come to think of it, do you remember when you last changed your toothbrush? Have you ever asked yourself how often you replace them?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), a toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months. But why, exactly, is frequent toothbrush replacement necessary? What does it have to do with oral hygiene?
The importance of replacing your toothbrush frequently
Simply put, a toothbrush that is no longer capable of doing its job won’t help you take care of your oral health. This is concerning, given researchers have observed a link between oral health and your overall health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, birth and pregnancy complications, and even cardiovascular disease.
Studies reveal that the bristles in the brush deteriorate over time so that in about three months, the toothbrush becomes less effective in cleaning your gums and removing teeth plaque. The inability to descale plaque can lead to issues such as gingivitis, a condition which if inadequately addressed can cause teeth prematurely falling off.
Aside from wear and tear, potentially dangerous microbes and fungi can hide and multiply in the bristles. It’s for this reason replacing your toothbrush is crucial after a cold if you want to avoid the risk of reinfection.
In addition to changing your toothbrush regularly, you should also take proper care of it. After use, a toothbrush should be thoroughly rinsed, then allowed to dry and stay dry. When storing, hold the brush upright. Avoid covering its head unless you’re traveling, in which case cover serves to protect it and reduce the probability of it attracting and spreading germs.
In case you don’t recall when you last changed your toothbrush, inspect its head and see if the bristles are already frayed or worn out. Also, check if the color of the bristles has darkened, as this indicates the blooming of molds.
Find out if it’s about time to make a toothbrush change. Determine what type of toothbrush and related products are most appropriate for you. Better yet, seek recommendations from your dentist. If you have any inquiries, feel free to contact Audubon Dental Center via our website, or at (301) 856-1122.