The Academy of General Dentistry recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months, but a survey by Colgate-Palmolive reveals that only 9 percent of Americans follow these guidelines. In fact, most Americans replace their brushes every nine months. Taking proper care of your toothbrush will help keep your mouth cleaner and healthier. Follow these tips from Dr. Locke to determine if it’s time to toss your toothbrush.

  1. Where do you store your toothbrush? Microbes can grow on your toothbrush bristles and handle, and with each use, you are inserting those bacteria back into your mouth. Bacteria breed and thrive in moist environments—like your bathroom! Following the three-month replacement rule will help keep your brush free of bacteria. However, to prevent bacterial buildup, make sure your brush is dry before each use, and store it upright in an open area.
  2. Are your bristles frayed? Furious scrubbing, biting down on your brush, and every day brushing will eventually wear out your bristles. Additionally,using hot water to rinse your brush will shorten the life of your bristles. When your bristles become frayed, they are weaker and bend easily, so they won’t be able to clean your mouth as effectively. Furthermore, frayed bristles can become rough and damage your teeth and gums. If your bristles are frayed, trash your brush and start fresh with a new one.
  3. Have you been sick? Your toothbrush catches the germs from your mouth. If you’ve been sick or had an oral infection, be sure to replace your toothbrush immediately after recovering to prevent reinfection.
  4. How many people are in your family? If you store more than one toothbrush in the same area, make sure they are a safe distance apart from each other to avoid cross-contamination. Furthermore, don’t touch the toothpaste tube to your brush, and don’t soak your brush in a disinfectant that others will use. If your brush comes into contact with another brush, both toothbrushes should be replaced to prevent spreading germs and diseases.

Dr. Locke can show you the best way to take care of your smile. Contact our dentist office in Waco, Texas at (254) 776-4888 to schedule an appointment. We serve patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and the surrounding Central Texas area.