For many people, toothbrushes tend to be one of those immutable constants in life. In the same way that people are hesitant to change their favorite toilet paper or toothpaste brands, toothbrushes often go months, even years without replacement. This habit can be quite problematic, however. Here are five reasons why you should toss your toothbrush and obtain another.

1. Your toothbrush is worn out

Like dish rags and clothing, toothbrushes can wear out. Take a closer look at the bristles on the toothbrush. If they look worn out, with frizzed ends rather than the smooth plastic of a brand-new brush, then chances are great it’s time for a replacement.

But why, you might ask, does it matter? After all, the bristles are there, albeit a bit fuzzier. But unlike a sponge or broom, it does matter, for a toothbrush. Because the teeth have to be cleaned very precisely, anything less than the original quality means a subpar cleaning, which can make tooth decay more likely. All in all, it’s better to stay on the safe side and toss out your toothbrush as soon as it starts showing signs of wear.

2. It has been three or four months

If you happen to be an especially gentle brusher and your toothbrush still looks pristine after three to four months, you should throw out your toothbrush. Most dentists agree that this is the amount of time it normally takes to wear out a toothbrush regardless of how you think your toothbrush looks.

Again, this is because used toothbrushes are much less likely to be effective at removing plaque. The bristles lose their efficacy over time through normal wear and tear, meaning that you only get a few months worth of ideal cleaning before a replacement is needed.

3. You’ve just been sick

Additionally, you should replace your toothbrush after you get sick because brushing with a toothbrush that could house lingering bacteria and viruses increases the likelihood of reinfection and illness. Some dentists believe that throwing out your toothbrush after an infective sickness (like strep throat) can prevent the virus from spreading not only to others but also to yourself for a second time.

Not all dentists agree that it’s problematic because they argue that viruses are flushed out by ingredients in toothpaste as well as regular washing. As a whole, however, it’s better to stay on the safe side (because neither side has been experimented) and replace your toothbrush more often rather than less often.

4. Someone has used it

You might be considering it just because it sounds gross, but if someone’s used your toothbrush (inadvertently or purposefully), you should probably toss it for another. You never know what sort of germs another person’s mouth could be carrying (because the mouth can be considered one of the dirtiest parts of the body), and it’s better to veer to replacing your toothbrush on the off chance that you could be infected by something harmful.

5. Something else has contaminated it

Lastly, you should toss your toothbrush and find a replacement if anything else has potentially contaminated it. These factors could include anything from accidentally dropping your toothbrush onto the dirty bathroom floor to accidentally spraying it with bathroom cleaning fluids. Any chance that you could accidentally ingest a harmful substance or come into contact with a bacteria or virus should be minimized by constant replacement.

Your toothbrush necessarily goes in your mouth and thus can be a inadvertent cause of illness. Taking care of your teeth and your body alike by replacing your toothbrush at least every three to four months is an important way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Of course, constantly visiting your dentist is a part of this. Set up an appointment to meet with the best dentist in Colorado Springs to make sure your oral health is on track today!

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