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How often should I change my toothbrush and why?

April 16, 2021

We should all consider changing our toothbrushes every six to eight weeks or so. Having said this, it is important to note there are individual variations in patterns of use. Some of us exert far greater pressure while brushing and may need to switch out our brushes more frequently.

The nylon bristles on our brushes are designed to remove the plaque from our teeth and from under our gums.  They also polish the enamel of our teeth.  Over time, these bristles become curved at the edges which makes them less effective.  The bristles may also flare out and become more brittle after several uses.

Over time, the residue left at the base of the brush head may harbor bacterial and/ or fungal growth.  Some studies have shown brushes may be contaminated with viruses after use in infected mouths. It should be noted that there is no evidence to suggest these contaminated brushes have been associated with any infections in the mouth.

If we fail to change our brushes frequently, the curved and slightly harder bristles may not effectively clean the plaque, especially from under our gums.  Their polishing action is far less effective when the edges are frayed.  More over, they are far more likely to cause injury to our gums.

While there is no evidence to suggest that brushes contaminated with microbes are associated with infections, it is important to note that such contamination increases over time.

While there is no health related negative effect of changing the toothbrush too frequently, it is important to remember the long plastic handles and heads of trashed brushes fill up our landfills!  Plastic waste, as we all know, is becoming a daunting problem for us. Please consider using the bio-degradable bamboo handled brushes that have recently become available!