Like many, you probably focus more on the *act* of oral care than on the tools involved. More specifically, your priority is to brush your teeth twice daily, floss once daily, and rinse with mouthwash as needed. However, did you know it’s also important to switch out your toothbrush now and again? Failing to do so can lead to various dental health issues. That said, your dentist in Stephens City can help you master this habit. Read on to learn when and why to switch your toothbrush, plus some helpful ways to care for it.
When (and Why) Should I Switch My Toothbrush?
Most dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush every three to four months. If you don’t, you’re likely to experience the following consequences:
- Worn & Frayed Bristles: Your toothbrush’s bristles will likely fray by the 3-month mark. Such wear and tear can also happen earlier. Either way, the fraying will make your toothbrush less effective at removing plaque. You’d thus be better off with a new one.
- Bacterial Buildup: When you use the same toothbrush for an extended period, its bristles will carry larger amounts of oral bacteria. Exposing your teeth to these microbes could put you at serious risk of tooth decay, cavities, and even gum disease.
The other ideal time for a replacement is if you’ve been ill recently. In that case, you should get a new toothbrush since the old one could reinfect you.
Tips on Toothbrush Care
You likely want to get the most out of your toothbrush while you have it. That said, remember to keep its bristles as clean and effective as possible.
For instance, dry out your toothbrush after each use. Since it can be a breeding ground for bacteria, you don’t want it to stay moist. Therefore, shake it under some tap water and place it upright to let it dry.
Also, make sure to store your toothbrush in a safe location. In particular, don’t let it touch other brushes or dirty surfaces; these could pass cold or flu viruses. To be safe, you might even invest in a standard toothbrush holder.
In the end, good dental hygiene involves more than just teeth cleaning. It should also include replacing and supporting your oral care tools.
About the Author
Dr. Thomas A. Gromling is a dentist based in Stephens City, VA, having earned his DDS from Virginia Commonwealth University. For post-graduate training, he pursues continuing education through groups like the L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dentistry. Given this experience, his dental specialties are preventive, cosmetic, and restorative treatments, including emergency care. Dr. Gromling currently practices at his self-titled clinic and can be reached at his website or by phone at (540)-869-4377.