There’s a fair amount of myth making out there about the role your toothbrush plays in getting you sick. I often get questions about how often toothbrushes should be replaced, based on the notion that they’re likely to carry more germs as they age.
The truth is that the microorganisms found on toothbrushes don’t make you sick. Toothpaste has a built in antiseptic that kills most germ-carrying microbes on contact. These microbes need moisture to survive, so as a rule of thumb, if your toothbrush has time to dry after you use it you should be in good shape.
When To Replace Your Toothbrush
As for replacing your toothbrush, the American Dental Association recommends a new one every three months. The same applies to your brush head if you use an electric type. These recommendations pertain to more bristle wear than germ accumulation, and depend on the brusher, not the brush. If, for example, you brush with the heavy hand of the Mighty Thor your bristles may wear out a little sooner. The key is to pay less attention to the calendar than to the shape of your bristles. When you can see the latter heading off in different directions it’s probably time for a change.
Still in the realm of brush replacement, remember that you use your hands to “operate” your toothbrush, so if you’re just getting over a heavy cold or similar illness, changing your brush is a good idea.
Protect Your Toothbrush When You Travel
Traveling with a toothbrush is pretty straightforward and requires minimal common sense. I have friends who confess to dropping their brush in their travel kit and pulling it out when they get to their hotel. Not only is this gross (who knows what else is in that kit), it’s not very hygienic. An inexpensive plastic toothbrush case will protect bristles from becoming squashed, flattened and otherwise sullied in your traveling kit. Just remember to let your toothbrush dry in the open air to help reduce the amount of germs it absorbs (and spreads).
How often do you replace your brush? Any questions on this subject? Feel free to get in touch.