Blog Hero

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Request Appointment

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Caring for your teeth starts at home, from flossing to the foods you eat. Regularly brushing your teeth is one of the most practical methods of preventative dentistry. Many people learn how to brush their teeth at a young age. But how many of us know how often we should change our toothbrushes?

If you follow the recommended oral care routine, you should change your toothbrush every 12–16 weeks or 3 months. 

You might set a reminder on your phone or write it on a calendar, but how do you decide if 12 or 16 weeks is right? Is somewhere in between better? 

Find out more about signs you can watch for and a few tips about caring for your toothbrush.

Why Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

You know you need to change your toothbrush, but do you know why? Over time, the wear and tear of your regular tooth brushing routine weaken your toothbrush’s integrity. The damage decreases the effectiveness of your toothbrush.

As your toothbrush bristles fall out or lose shape, you’re not getting the same quality of care. As a result, your toothbrush won’t remove plaque as easily. Without reliable everyday oral care, plaque can build up. Eventually, the excess of bacteria and minerals in plaque can coat your teeth, forming tartar

Tartar is rough and difficult to remove. In most cases, you’ll need a professional dental cleaning. If left untreated, the bacteria in tartar can cause various tooth conditions, including gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay.

Signs You Need to Change Your Toothbrush

Certain signs can help you determine the condition of your toothbrush. Many toothbrush manufacturers also include clues for when to change your toothbrush.

Examining your toothbrush before you brush is an excellent way to keep track. It may take time to form the habit of checking every day, but it’s best to take a look at least weekly. 

Here are some of the signs to watch for when checking your toothbrush:

  • Bristles losing stiffness
  • Bristles falling out or frayed
  • Debris you can’t remove
  • Discolouration or staining

Toothbrush Types: Manual Vs. Electric

There’s a difference between changing a manual or an electric toothbrush

Maintaining your manual toothbrush requires the whole body to be cleaned and stored correctly. Manual toothbrushes tend to last longer, but you need to throw out the entire brush.

Electric toothbrushes have shorter bristles, which tend to fray more quickly. When you throw out an electric toothbrush head, you might notice some seepage where the head attaches. Make sure to clean under the toothbrush head to prevent bacteria buildup.

Typically, it’s best to change an electric toothbrush every 12 weeks.

Other Times to Change Your Toothbrush

In addition to regular use, other factors might require you to replace your toothbrush.

If your toothbrush has been exposed to contaminants or chemicals, it’s time for a new toothbrush. When you clean your bathroom, it’s best to remove your toothbrush from the immediate area, especially if you use sprays or aerosols. 

Proximity to the toilet can also be a reason to change your toothbrush more frequently. When you flush the toilet, it releases fecal matter, which settles on surrounding surfaces. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) hasn’t found evidence that these bacteria particles cause adverse health effects.

Tips for Cleaning Your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush keeps your teeth clean, but what’s keeping your toothbrush clean? Unfortunately, sanitizing a worn-out toothbrush won’t restore the quality of the toothbrush. Still, consistent maintenance can improve how long your toothbrush lasts and how effectively it cleans your teeth. 

Rinsing your toothbrush after use is a simple method to clean your toothbrush. 

However, suppose you want more thorough cleaning. In that case, you can try soaking your toothbrush in 3% hydrogen peroxide or an antibacterial mouthwash for a few minutes. Ultraviolet sanitizers are also available in various forms, including toothbrush cleaners.

After you’ve cleaned your toothbrush, leave it to dry completely.

Another way to improve the lifespan of your toothbrush is proper storage. Keeping your toothbrush stored in a dry, open space can prevent the growth of bacteria. For example, try an upright holder. It may help your brush dry more thoroughly.

Is It Time to Change Your Toothbrush?

Keeping an eye on your toothbrush health is the first step in protecting your smile. Watch for signs or set a reminder to make your toothbrush hygiene easier.

When it’s time to change your toothbrush, you can ask your dentist for recommendations. Oral care starts at home, and toothbrush maintenance is the first step. If you have more questions about cleaning or caring for your toothbrush, book an appointment at your dentist’s office.

Written by Dr. Kostas Papadopoulos

Dr. Kostas Papadopoulos received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Toronto in 1992 after completing 3 years of biochemistry and the 4-year program in dentistry. He enjoys continuing education and has attended numerous rehabilitative and cosmetic dentistry programs, including courses taught by Dr. John Kois.

More Articles By Dr. Kostas Papadopoulos
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax