Should you change your toothbrush often? If yes, how often?
Infections, whether viral or bacterial, challenge our immune system, and proper oral hygiene contributes a lot in controlling the viral and bacterial load that enters your body. Toothbrushes play a crucial role in maintaining a proper environment in the mouth. Experts say you should spend at least 2-3 minutes brushing your teeth. But have you ever wondered if you have to change your toothbrush?
Checking the condition of the toothbrush is not something that gets our attention often. But doctors say that when the bristles spread out, it is time to change the brush. Tight bristles help the toothpaste enter the gum columns to remove the plaque, but spread out ones aren't able to function that way. Hence, it's best to change your brush every 3-4 months.
"The average person should be swapping out for a new toothbrush every three to four months. This is recommended to ensure that the bristles are still effective and bacteria accumulation on the toothbrush is minimal," explains Dr. Sienna Palmer, a California-based dentist.
Sharing is not caring when it comes to toothbrushes, because even an accidental switch can lead to oral infections. When you expose your brush to an atmosphere outside your mouth, it can collect bacteria and dust particles. Further, avoid placing toothbrushes together. You should also change its cover every 3-4 months. The best practice is to clean your brush with hot water often.
The connection between COVID-19 and oral hygiene is not much talked about, but doctors say coronavirus can spread through toothbrushes, too. That's because it is a communicable disease, so your brush can be a potential vector for transmission. If you or any of your family members have had COVID-19 and recovered from it, throw away the old toothbrushes to prevent the risk of re-infection.
"If you have contracted Covid-19, you should change your toothbrush and tongue-cleaner after 20 days of getting the first symptoms," said Dr. Bhumika Madan, Consultant (Dental), Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital. It should be done in case of seasonal flu, cough, and cold, she adds.
Some points to keep in mind to ensure proper oral hygiene: -Check expiry dates of dental products; replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months. -For electric brushes, change the heads every 12 weeks or earlier. -If you use a separate brush when you travel, change it every six months. -Change children's and senior citizens' toothbrushes more frequently than others as they are more prone to infections.