We all have a lot of tasks to keep track of in our daily lives, especially when kids are involved. Between the meals you have to prepare, carpools you have to arrange, homework you help with, and appointments you have to schedule, parenting is a job that never ends. Of course, we’re only human and it is impossible to keep track of everything. Something that often falls by the wayside during busy times is replacing your toothbrush and your child’s toothbrush frequently enough. Many people only replace their toothbrushes every six months at their dental checkups, but did you know that your toothbrush isn’t really meant to last that long?
Dentists and toothbrush manufacturers both recommend that you replace your toothbrush at least every three to four months. The same goes for replaceable or electric toothbrush heads. Kids’ toothbrushes should typically be replaced a bit more frequently, or at least closer to every three months, because as they grow they often need to upgrade to bigger toothbrushes. This means that between each checkup with your pediatric dentist, you should be replacing your child’s toothbrush at least once.
However, there are many reasons to replace your toothbrushes even more frequently than that. For example, if you have been sick recently it is usually a good idea to change your toothbrush in case any germs are left in the bristles. It is also a good idea to replace all your toothbrushes if someone in your household has been sick and your toothbrushes are stored together. To sanitize your toothbrush in a pinch, you can also try dipping it in boiling water for 5 seconds or rinsing it with mouthwash. You should never put your toothbrush in the dishwasher, as it will get damaged. If anyone else uses your toothbrush for any reason, you should replace it immediately to prevent the spread of germs.
The main reason experts recommend that you change your toothbrush frequently is actually not because of germs, but because of the effectiveness of the bristles. The more you use your toothbrush, the more frayed the bristles become. When the bristles become frayed or sparse, your toothbrush is less able to clean your teeth thoroughly and properly. You want to make sure you’re checking your toothbrush and your child’s toothbrush frequently for damage and normal wear and tear.