How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

It's easy to know when to replace worn out shoes or faded clothes. But how often should you change your toothbrush? It all depends on your usage, health and preferences. Before you brush again, ask yourself whether it is time for a new toothbrush.

When to Get a New Toothbrush

Replace toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months. Consider getting a new toothbrush sooner if you have been sick, especially if the toothbrush is stored close to other toothbrushes. When in doubt, look at the bristles. If they are frayed, they won't clean teeth as thoroughly. Because children often brush more rigorously than adults, they may need their toothbrushes replaced more often.

Types of Toothbrushes

There are two styles of toothbrushes to consider: manual and electric. Choose what feels comfortable and makes you want to brush your teeth regularly. A manual toothbrush is portable and ready to use every time you need it. It makes no noise, and you will have complete control over the pressure it puts on your teeth and gums.

An electric toothbrush requires charging and is a bit more cumbersome to take along when traveling. However, the rotating movement of the bristles makes it easier to clean between teeth and at the gum line. Many electric toothbrushes have built-in sensors to make sure you brush long enough and don't press too hard.

Maintaining Your Toothbrush

No matter which type of toothbrush you use, keep it clean. The American Dental Association recommends rinsing the toothbrush under tap water after you brush to wash away lingering toothpaste and saliva. Then, store the toothbrush in a vertical position, with the bristles positioned so they can air dry.

Storing a toothbrush in a closed container can cause bacteria to build up, so it's best to let the bristles of the toothbrush fully dry between each usage. If you're traveling, consider using disposable toothbrushes during the trip.

How often should you change your toothbrush? Get into the habit of buying new toothbrushes for everyone in the family several times per year. How often you change your toothbrush depends on several factors, but it's best to always have a new, fresh toothbrush waiting in the bathroom cabinet for each family member.

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How to FLOSS

  1. Pull 18 to 24 inches of dental floss from the floss dispenser.

  2. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index and middle fingers.

  3. Hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape; move the floss back and forth in a push-pull motion and up and down against the side of each tooth.

How to BRUSH

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion, and repeat for each tooth.

  2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.

  3. Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.

  4. Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.

  5. Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria.