How long is too long for a toothbrush?

If you follow the American Dental Association’s (ADA) recommendations, you probably go see the dentist for a cleaning every six months. Then after your visit, your dental hygienist most likely gives you a toothbrush. But if you aren’t replacing your toothbrush in between visits, chances are you’re not fully complying with the ADA’s suggestions. To ensure you’re maintaining proper hygiene, here are some toothbrush tips from the American Dental Association.


Know when to replace

You should be getting a new toothbrush every three to four months. You may need to trade it out sooner if the bristles become damaged or frayed from use. That means you should be replacing your toothbrush at least once in between your semi-annual visits to the dentist.

Know how to clean

Your toothbrush is teeming with microorganisms that could lead to infection. Not only do microorganisms from your mouth get transferred to the toothbrush, but those found where your toothbrush is stored can also find a home on your brush. That said, it’s important to clean your toothbrush thoroughly before and after each use. This will help clear debris and excess toothpaste.

Know how to store

Since microorganisms from the environment may contaminate your toothbrush, you might be tempted to cover your toothbrush to keep impurities out. Unfortunately, covering a toothbrush regularly can intensify and escalate bacterial growth. Instead, your toothbrush should be stored in an open-air environment. Preferably, you should keep your brush in an upright position and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Maintaining your dental hygiene is easier if you know when to replace your toothbrush. If it’s been longer than four months since your last replacement, it’s time for a new toothbrush.

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