You know it’s time for a new tube of toothpaste when there is nothing left in the old one, but what about the toothbrush?
Based on dental health guidelines toothbrush is supposed to be used at least 2 times a day for at least 2 minutes each time. Therefore, there is a widely known agreement among both toothbrush manufacturers and dental professionals that a new manual toothbrush or a replaceable head has to be picked up every 3-4 months to maintain adequate cleaning power and protect from extensive growth of bacteria on the toothbrush surface.
However, this is just part of the story, as there are plenty of other signs suggesting that the natural lifespan of your toothbrush is coming to an end without even reaching this common time limit. Let’s look at some of the most important ones in more detail.
1. Bristles are showing signs of wear and tear
It is normal for toothbrush bristles to lose their stiffness and start to fray, bend or even fall out due to wear and tear. However, all of these easily observable changes signal that your toothbrush is losing its cleaning power and therefore, might leave behind plaque. This allows bacteria to multiply more easily leading to an array of dental problems from tooth decay to gum disease. However, depending on your personal brushing technique and frequency you might start to notice these signs in just a month or two. Therefore, to ensure proper cleaning power and prevent development of dental problems, you might consider picking up a new toothbrush once wear and tear becomes noticeable.
2. You have been ill recently with cold sores or virus
Mouth is one of the most common routes for bacteria and viruses to enter our body. Therefore, proper oral hygiene practices can help to protect your overall health by reducing the amount of bacteria in the mouth. However, considering that toothbrush comes into close contact with germs and bacteria during the illness, no matter how thoroughly you clean the toothbrush after every use, some pathogens might still linger between the bristles increasing the risk to re-introduce germs back to the body once you recover from a previous illness prolonging the treatment or even causing a new outbreak. Therefore, to do a favour to your own immune system, you might consider discarding your toothbrush after every illness.
3. You have dropped your toothbrush on the floor
This sign is rather self-explanatory. Even a brief contact is enough for your toothbrush to pick up those dangerous germs and bacteria from the floor or surrounding surfaces, including the sink. Therefore, you might want to consider replacing your toothbrush right away to avoid any unpleasant consequences of those germs and bacteria getting into the mouth.
4. You have been storing your toothbrush in a travel case for a long time
Of course, the travel case is there to protect your toothbrush. However, they are supposed to be used only for a short period of time. Travel container provides plenty of moisture and warmth that is loved by bacteria, as it allows to successfully grow and multiply. Therefore, apart from making sure that you let your toothbrush to properly dry before placing it in a travel case, picking up a new toothbrush upon return from a trip seems to be a good idea as well.