Young woman is looking at the mirror while holding a toothbrush

When to Replace Your Toothbrush

Just like your mattress or car tires, items you use every day need to be replaced regularly. Your toothbrush is no exception. Learn how long you should be using your toothbrush and the best ways of taking care of it and your smile.

You change your car oil every 3,000 miles. You purchase a new mattress every eight years. You put in new air filters every 60 to 90 days. But do you know how often you should replace your toothbrush?

If you're brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, your toothbrush receives a lot of wear and tear. Part of a good oral hygiene regimen includes taking care of your toothbrush and replacing it regularly.

How Long Should I Use a Toothbrush For?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. Still, you might need a new toothbrush sooner if the bristles wear out. If the bristles are flattened to the side or frayed and matted, it's time to add a new toothbrush to the shopping list. Worn out bristles can decrease your toothbrush's effectiveness, making it more difficult to fight plaque and clean your teeth and gums. Brushing with frayed bristles can also damage your teeth and gums. Set a recurring reminder on your phone to purchase a new brush and take care of your smile. 

How to Take Care of Your Toothbrush

You can increase the lifespan and cleanliness of your toothbrush by following some of these toothbrush care tips:

  • Rinse after use. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the toothbrush after use to remove any toothpaste residue or other debris.
  • Store upright. While not in use, keep your toothbrush in an upright position so that the bristles can air dry. When you store a moist toothbrush in a closed container, it promotes microbial growth.
  • Never share. Your toothbrush comes in close contact with the unique combination of bacteria in your mouth every day. Sharing it with someone else increases both of your chances of getting sick.

Should You Get a New Toothbrush After Being Sick?

Replace your toothbrush after any illness — including after the common cold, a cold sore, or the flu — to help prevent any lingering bacteria or virus from reinfecting you or infecting those you live with. Do not rely on sanitation techniquesno substantial evidence has proven that mouthwash or special disinfectants can effectively sanitize your toothbrush after an illness. Also, never try to disinfect your toothbrush in the dishwasher or microwave as this can damage the bristles. Be safe by replacing your toothbrush after you recover from being sick.

How often do you change your toothbrush? Make a habit of buying new toothbrushes for everyone in your family every three months. Plus, it's best always to have new, fresh toothbrushes waiting in the bathroom cabinet just in case.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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