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When to Change Your Toothbrush

For kids, choosing a toothbrush is all about what superhero or princess is on the package. As an adult or young adult, you should be more conscientious about the toothbrush you are using and how it is taken care of.

It may surprise you to learn that fungus and bacteria can live on your toothbrush. They reproduce and you put that brush and all of its bacteria right into your mouth. This should not deter you from brushing, though, there are ways to prevent this build-up.

You always want to make sure that your toothbrush is not resting against any other family members, especially if you or another family member have severe tooth decay. The bacteria can spread from brush to brush, infecting other family members (see:

It is for this same reason that you should store your toothbrush vertically. If the water and toothpaste on your brush can linger, providing a bacterial breeding ground. Your brush needs a chance to dry properly so that the microorganisms mostly die off.
You can also opt for a case with several holes in it. Never use a completely closed case, bacteria love to breed in airless spaces. These cases protect your brush head from rubbing against the sink, medicine cabinet, or any other area where bacteria can linger.

Consider all of the events that happen in your bathroom. When you shower, wash your hands, use the toilet, and brush your hair in the bathroom, your unprotected toothbrush can pick up bacteria, viruses, and dander.

Rinsing your brush off with water will remove debris. You should do this even with new toothbrushes. Keep in mind that toothbrushes do not require sterile packaging. This mean they could have bacteria on them before you even use them! It is never a bad idea to soak your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash, especially if you have a disease that makes you more susceptible to infections.

Even with proper care, toothbrushes will eventually wear out. But how worn is too worn? The most noticeable sign is fraying on the bristles. Bristles which are bent, frayed, and/or broken will not sufficiently clean your teeth and gums. Even if you have only had it for a month, replace it.

After any period of sickness, replace your toothbrush. Even if it is brand new. The bacteria and viruses that caused you to get sick in the first place will hang out on your brush. Once these bacteria are reintroduced to your body, you can expect the illness to reoccur.

A good rule of thumb is to get a new toothbrush every three to four months. Make sure to get everyone in your household a new brush at the same time to avoid confusion regarding who got a new toothbrush and when. Electric toothbrushes should be treated with the same guidelines as the traditional type of brush. They may be more effective in cleaning your teeth, but they are just as susceptible to bacteria.

Never take any chances with your dental care. If your toothbrush is flimsy, worn, or falls on the floor, discard it immediately. I like to keep at least one extra toothbrush around for each and every family member.

Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at

Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2015