We’ve all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. You might also say that the toothbrush is mightier than the drill! That’s because if you wield your toothbrush properly, it’s a very powerful weapon against tooth decay & gum disease. But like any tool, if you want it to work best, you need to take care of it. That’s why you need to replace your toothbrush frequently to maintain proper oral hygiene!
Change Your Toothbrush Every 3 Months
The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Toothbrushes become worn over time & bristles bend & fray they become less effective at cleaning your teeth. A toothbrush with straight, stiff (not hard!) bristles will do the best job.
If you find you often forget to replace your toothbrush on time, try putting a note or a reminder in your personal calendar every 3 months to buy a new one. Always buy soft-bristled toothbrushes. Hard or medium bristles are not necessary to properly or effectively clean your teeth, & may even damage your enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay.
Another good reminder of when to change your toothbrush is when we hand you a new one at your 6-month cleaning appointment! You should replace your toothbrush at least once between every bi-yearly oral hygiene appointment with us.
Signs It’s Time to Change
Not everyone knows this, but toothbrushes will actually show physical signs that it’s time for them to be replaced. The most obvious sign is that the bristles will start to fray & splay outward instead of standing up straight.
(This effect will be more severe if you brush your teeth to hard. If you notice your brush’s bristles fraying very soon after they’re new, it may be a sign that you’re brushing so hard you can damage your teeth or cause sensitivity. How thorough you are is much more important than how hard you brush. Be gentle!)
Many toothbrush manufacturers also build a wear guide into the bristles of their brushes. Most of the time this is in the form of a colored strip of bristles. Once the color on these bristles has faded significantly, it’s time to replace your toothbrush.
What’s unique about Columbia #23: Aaron McGruder, cartoonist & writer best known for the series The Boondocks, grew up in Columbia.