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How often should I replace my toothbrush?

Updated on April 9, 2013

My toothbrush doesn't have an expiration date

Toothpaste, mouthwash, and almost everything else we put in our mouth has an expiration date. It sure would be nice to look at an expiration date on a toothbrush and know it's time to replace it, right?. Since most toothbrushes don't come with an expiration date, I'd like to give you some guidance on how often to replace your toothbrush and some tips to help you minimize the bacteria that can easily collect on a toothbrush and end up in your mouth.

Minimize germs on your toothbrush and in your mouth

The general rule for most adults and children is 3 months. The bristles on the brush tend to become worn and less effective in doing their job. Obviously, the 3 month rule applies assuming one is brushing their teeth twice a day every day. A week or two over the 3 months isn't going to be a huge issue. The same applies to someone that brushes their teeth more than twice a day, their toothbrush may need to be replaced a lot sooner than the 3 months rule.

If you are using an electrical toothbrush, different rules may apply and are based on the manufacturer's instructions. Many electrical tooth brush heads are made of materials that last much longer sometimes up to 6 months, the Sonicare toothbrush comes with a chamber that sanitizes the brush head "cool", most electrical toothbrushes also come with a trigger to let you know when it's time to replace the head attachment.

If you suffer from bleeding gums or have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, it's probably a good idea to replace your tooth brush monthly. Those tiny bristles are the perfect nest for bacteria to call home.

If you suspect for one second that someone has used your toothbrush, even if it's a family member "gross I know", but it happens, or you recently recovered from a case of the cold or the flu. These are times that require the immediate replacement of your toothbrush.

We know that bacteria loves to thrive in tight, wet areas such as the bristles of your toothbrush. It is recommended that your tootbrush be rinsed with hot water after each brushing. Shake your toothbrush to remove as much of the excess water from the bristles before putting it away.

Children and adults that share bathrooms tend to store their toothbrushes in one cup on the sink, avoid storing your toothbrush with anyone else, including your spouse or your children. Since everyone mostly stores their brush bristles up, the brush heads are close to each other making it easy for those little bacteria monkeys (germs) to have a big party, some germs may find a mate and multiply by producing other little mini germies, you get the idea.

INTRODUCE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH TO YOUR MOUTH WASH - Store your toothbrush bristles down in a glass of mouthwash (which you should replace every few days). This will deffinately minimize the amount of germs on your toothbrush and in your mouth.

Happy Brushing!



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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hello again! May I make a suggestion here? The microbes in our mouth are anaerobic--meaning, the live w/o oxygen. To kill them, would mean exposing them to oxygen is ideal. They *do* nest nicely in the base of the brush bristles...but mouthwash will not kill them as effectively as hydrogen peroxide. Want to deodorize the brush AND sanitize it? add a drop (no more) to the peroxide and it will break the sulfur bond that is creating the odor from the bacteria in your mouth. Gently clean your brush with a drop of liquid soap after use and rinse well, thereby reducing the bacterial build up in the bristles. Otherwise you are just reintroducing dead bacteria into your mouth from your previous brushing. After cleaning, keep your brush in the peroxide/bleach--and you will have one clean brush!! (mouthwash will mask odor, and not really oxidize all the germs, either)

      The cool light chamber for the Sonicare really does work! So glad you mentioned it.

      I suggest patients change their brush when the bristles splay outward--which is usually before 3 months pass. Once splayed, they will not point the direction intended by the user, reducing effectiveness.

      Cheers, and remember, the sexiest curve on your body--is your smile!

    • Pascale1973 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pascale Skaf Saliba 

      10 years ago from Orange County, CA

      You are welcome, just remember to change out the mouthwash every few days. Thank you for reading my hub, this is the first one I wrote and it's exciting to see someone appreciate it.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      10 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Very interesting hub and I didn't think about putting my toothbrush iin mouthwash to keep it a bit cleaner. Many thanks for sharing.

    • Pascale1973 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pascale Skaf Saliba 

      10 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thank you for reading, and yes we all do the same and wait too long, great advice on purchasing a few, what I've done to remind myself is made a rule, everytime I run out of shampoo, which is about 3 months, I also change my toothbrush

    • zanin profile image


      10 years ago from London, England

      This is a very useful hub. Did not know the about ' Store your toothbrush bristles down in a glass of mouthwash ' very good advice. I always leave it too long to change my toothbrush. A good way around this is to purchase five or six and then you will always have a new one to hand when you need it. Voted-up as useful. Nina


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