How Often Should You Get a New Toothbrush?

Some folks time replacing their toothbrush with their biannual visit to their dentist’s office for a cleaning—often receiving a complementary new brush at the end of the appointment. Others rely on color-changing indicator bristles on their brushes to let them know how often to get a new toothbrush. Others simply eyeball their brush and guestimate.

How intact the bristles are is only a part of the way toothbrushes decline with use and time—and varies depending upon whether or not you use the right brushing technique or adhere to the recommended 30 seconds of brushing per mouth quadrant.

What do dentists recommend about how often you should get a new toothbrush? Let’s explore.

When to Replace Your Toothbrush

Here are some guidelines for how often you should replace your toothbrush that are a bit more helpful—and healthful—than waiting until your biannual cleaning:

  • Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three to four months—unless there is a reason to do it sooner or the bristles are looking particularly ragged.1
  • Swap your brush with someone else on accident? Toss it to avoid becoming sick with an unknown contaminant that person may have.2
  • If your toothbrush has been kept in a closed container, you may want to replace it. Storage in a closed container, like a travel case, can cause the growth of bacteria.2

Should You Get a New Toothbrush After Being Sick?

While this is a popular belief, there is no evidence that bacteria found in toothbrushes can cause sickness.2 If you’d still prefer to err on the side of caution, though, there’s nothing wrong with get a fresh brush for your pearly whites after being sick.3

1 Oral Health Topics, Toothbrushes. American Dental Association. https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/toothbrushes. Accessed 5/6/2021. Referenced text is highlighted in the source material.

2 Use & Handling of Toothbrushes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/faqs/toothbrush-handling.html. Accessed 5/6/2021. Referenced text is highlighted in the source material.

3 Should you throw away your toothbrush after being sick? Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/throw-away-toothbrush-sick/. Accessed 5/6/2021. Referenced text is highlighted in the source material.

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