When Should I Change My Toothbrush And Get A New One?

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When Should I Change My Toothbrush And Get A New One?


I often get enquiries about what's the best toothbrush, and whether an electric brush is better than a manual one, but really the main thing about good tooth brushing is making the effort to do it well and do it regularly. There is one thing about a brush that I find makes a big difference in an oral hygiene routine and that is the condition of the brush, which is why it's important to only use a brush that is right for the job and in good condition, and that means you need to know why and when to change your toothbrush and get a new one.

If you think about what you want to achieve with your oral hygiene routine, it'll really help with many aspects of the cleaning. You will want the teeth to be clean of course, the gums to be clean. If you are wearing braces, you will want the wires and attachments to be clean. If you have artificial teeth like implants, crowns, bridges or dentures you will want them to be clean too.

It is likely that you can't actually do this with a single toothbrush. You may need a combination of brushes to clean different aspects of the teeth and anything that you have attached to them. You will probably need to add dental floss to the process too.

From a brushing perspective, don't try to clean too many teeth at once. Teeth are small, with many curves and contours and the more you try to clean at once, the more area you will miss. So don't use a big toothbrush - a small one is better.

Use very small ones, with a single tuft of bristles, or the ones that look like a miniature bottle brush or Christmas tree to clean in spaces or around braces.

Since you want the gums to be healthy, you need to brush where the teeth and gums meet. Although teeth are made of enamel and dentine, the hardest tissue in the body, gums are soft flesh and need to be cleaned thoroughly but gently, so use a brush with medium firmness bristles.

Soft bristles tend not to clear the plaque from the teeth, unless you lean harder on them, which defeats the point of using soft bristles. The other problem that makes people press too hard with their brush is when the bristles lose their shape. You will see this get worse over time - when you buy a new toothbrush, the bristles are straight and stick out at right angles from the head of the brush. As the brush gets used regularly, the bristles get bent and splay out more and more and eventually end up almost parallel to the head or handle of the brush. The tips of the bristles don't contact the gums the way they were meant to. Then you have to press harder with the brush and you get less control and you are more likely to do your gums (or braces) harm.

You will often hear people say to change your toothbrush every 6 weeks. I would suggest you get a new one when the bristles start to say bent and don't recover their shape. If you look at a regular toothbrush from the back of the head and see the bristles stick out the sides when they weren't like that at the start, then it is time for a new toothbrush.

If in doubt with any aspect of tooth brushing, or if your gums bleed when you brush them, get in touch with your dentist or hygienist.