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When to Know It’s Time to Turn in the Toothbrush

Just like other everyday products, your toothbrush has a shelf life—and a recommended expiration date to boot. We toss old food, replenish vitamins, change batteries, switch out lightbulbs, and more. The same idea behind replacing these products and foods holds true for our toothbrushes. Your toothbrush experiences wear like any other household product, and it doesn’t work as well (or at all) after a time. Plus, it gets gross with germs. Here’s how you know that it’s time to turn in your toothbrush for a newer one. 

Bristles Breakdown

Your toothbrush, similar to other everyday items, doesn’t last forever. Over time, toothbrushes become less effective. Their bristles become run-down and misshapen. 

When this happens, it’s time to go with a new toothbrush. Typically, a toothbrush’s bristle life is around three months. After that, bristles become worn down and less effective at getting rid of plaque from teeth and gums. 

Bristles Change Color

Old toothbrushes invite bacteria, fungus, and even mold onto the brush head. Signs that a toothbrush has met its end-of-use life aren’t confined to frayed, beaten down, or fanned bristles. If the bristles or brush head darken in color, that can be an indication of mold growth. 

You’re Getting Sick More Often

As we’ve touched on before, we have a mouth-body connection. Essentially, oral health is integral to our overall health. Extending your toothbrush past its recommended life can endanger your health and cause you to get sick. 

Over time, toothbrushes trap and lock in germs and bacteria in their bristles. This buildup can increase your likelihood of becoming sick. 

When you are sick or recovering from a cold, sickness germs get transmitted to the toothbrush you’re currently using. For this reason, it’s important to replace a toothbrush (even if it’s newer) right after a cold, fever, or other sicknesses. 

To stop the transfer of germs more effectively, rinse off and dry your toothbrush after each use. You should also keep it stored in an uncovered, upright position clear of other used toothbrushes and enclose the brush head when taking a trip or traveling. 

You Notice Blood as You Brush

Noticing blood as you brush and spit can be a sign of gingivitis, which can be a result of bad brushing or flossing habits. It can also happen when using a toothbrush that’s past its prime. 

Using a poor-bristled or overused toothbrush can actually damage your gums, as it is much less effective at removing plaque (a major contributor to gingivitis). In turn, gingivitis can lead to serious infection—something that can eventually result in tooth loss. 

Improve Your Oral Health

In addition to routine, thorough brushing and flossing, scheduling a dental checkup keeps your teeth and mouth as healthy as can be. Schedule one today with LeCroy Dental! We can help your smile shine brighter than before—and give you advice on caring for your oral health year-round. For more teeth-related topics, be sure to check out the rest of our blog!