Changing your toothbrush often is basically a rule of good dental hygiene. You’ve probably noticed that over time the brushes bend. It makes sense that a toothbrush with bent bristles won’t clean your teeth as well. But if you don’t pay attention to how you take care of your teeth, you may find that it’s been more than three months since you bought a new toothbrush. Or perhaps you don’t think it makes a difference.

Look more closely at why you should change your toothbrush every three or four months.

1. The Bristles Get Worn

Over time, your toothbrush will look old, with bristles that are bent and no longer stiff. If you don’t look closely, you might not even notice these changes in the way your toothbrush looks. This is important because the bristles on the toothbrush are made to clean your lips gently but effectively. When the bristles are worn down, they rub your gums more.

That may seem like a small problem, but it can be a lot worse. If you keep using a toothbrush with worn-out bristles for too long, the roughness can irritate your gums. In turn, this can lead to gums that fall off too soon.

Aside from the general wear on the brushes, the angle of the bristles is also important. You want the bristles to be standing up so they can properly clean your teeth.

2. Bacteria Buildup

Bacteria growth is another big reason why you shouldn’t use your toothbrush for more than three or four months. You already know that one reason to brush your teeth is to get rid of food, plaque, and germs. So, when you brush your teeth, germs get on your toothbrush. Most germs can’t be seen with the naked eye, so you probably won’t notice the buildup.

In the end, if you keep using the same toothbrush for a long time, you add more germs to it. This is bad because the germs can grow and spread back to your mouth. You probably don’t want to do this, since some kinds of bacteria are linked to gum disease and other problems with oral health.

3. Your Toothbrush Won’t Last Much Longer

Your current toothbrush should be replaced because it has hit the end of its useful life. Your toothbrush will stop being able to clean your teeth, gums, and tongue at some point. Its hairs will get soft, and its head may get chewed up. This will make it harder for it to move around in your mouth.

Even the instructions from the toothbrush maker say that you should get a new one every 12 to 16 weeks. Marking the right months on your calendar can help you keep track of when to buy a new toothbrush. Dentists also say that it’s helpful to set notes on your phone.

What About Kids’ Toothbrushes?

If you have kids, it’s a good idea to change their toothbrushes even more often than every three or four months. At least, stay on the shorter side of the range. This is because young children are more likely to chew on the head and mess up the hair. If you leave them alone for a few minutes, there is also a bigger chance that they will expose the brush to other bacteria.

How Do I Clean an Electric Toothbrush?

All of the tips above are just as important for the heads of electric toothbrushes as they are for manual toothbrushes. After all, the brush heads are almost all made the same way. The head of an electric toothbrush should also be changed every 12 weeks or so, just like a normal toothbrush.

At some point, your toothbrush won’t be able to clean your teeth, gums, and tongue anymore. Your toothbrush probably needs to be changed every three to four months, unless you get sick or use it in places that aren’t clean.

When you get a new toothbrush, write it down on your calendar. So, you can keep track of how long your toothbrush lasts and know when it’s time to buy a new one.

Dr. Motiwala in International Press

Dr. Motiwala is a world-renowned dentist who has cared for thousands of patients from every corner of the globe. He has been featured on several news outlets; to read about it, select the network’s logo below.

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