It is easiest to know by sight and check if it is high time to change out the toothbrush head. But what if it looks fairly new and you are halfway into your fifth month of using that same brush?
The condition of the toothbrush bristles may not be your best bet at telling you if you should change. For someone who brushes with more pressure on the teeth than others, the bristles will flat out first in comparison. However, do note that excessive pressure does not clean the teeth as your bristles are not meant to scrub but to skim the surface of your teeth.
On the other hand, when your toothbrush bristle starts looking worn out and frayed, you can be sure that’s a good call. Our toothbrush bristles accumulate bacteria as we go about our oral regime and since it is stored openly in the bathroom, it absorbs environmental germs especially if you’re flushing the toilet without closing the lid.
Several factors can determine the need to change your toothbrush head, and yet it differs from person to person. Below are some questions that can guide you in making a decision:
Similarly to manual brushes where you swapped them out between 3-4 months after initial use, you should also do the same for electric toothbrushes. Bristles that have frayed or split are no longer effective in cleaning out your teeth.
Even if you have just started using the new toothbrush head, ideally, it is recommended to replace it if you have just gotten well from an illness, mouth infection, canker sore, viral and bacterial infections. This way, you can prevent yourself from catching the same bug again or spreading it to the rest of the family.
A study has shown that over a 2-3 month period, participants who did not change their flared bristle heads experienced more plaque buildup than those who changed monthly; plaque is a film of bacteria that forms around your teeth and gums after ingesting food, saliva and fluids that produce acids. While they may look like they cause no harm to your oral health, these pesky invisible or yellowish-tinted bacterial film attacks and break down the teeth.
Aside to changing your toothbrush head every now and then, it is also important to maintain the cleanliness of it as toothbrushes are our frontline guard against any gum disease or poor dental health. Here are some good habits to nurture:
1. Keep the bristle dry. After brushing, rinse the bristles and toothbrush head to get rid of unwanted residues, leftover toothpaste and saliva. Gently tap and leave it in an upright position to air dry them.
2. Do not keep them in enclosed containers until they have fully dried up. If you have to store them, make sure it is dry before storing so as to reduce the potential of mould growth and bacteria.
3. If you are storing your toothbrushes in a bundle with the others in the household, try not to let the toothbrush heads touch each other.
4. Never share your toothbrush with anyone else, even your partner. When in doubt, use a new one.
5. Make it a habit to always rinse your toothbrush before and after using it to reduce bacteria accumulation that can potentially make you sick.
Remember, you are in charge of your oral health and if you’re the forgetful type, you can always set a quick reminder with your electronic devices!