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Home>Oral Health>Do You Really Need Toothbrush Replacement Every 6 months?

Do You Really Need Toothbrush Replacement Every 6 months?

There is a common myth which says that toothbrushes need to be replaced every 6 months. This is not true as replacement is necessary, every 3 months as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). If you’re in search of knowing the “main key points” of toothbrush replacement, then stay tuned as we’ll talk about them in a minute.

Oral care is an essential part of human life that is often neglected. Studies show that 22% of the adult population in the US has basic levels of health literacy while 14% have less than basic levels. ADA has provided a set of recommendations that serve as a hallmark for the prevention of oral diseases. These mainly include; brushing teeth twice a day, eating foods low in sugar, and employing the use of fluoride toothpaste with regular dental visits every 6 months.

How often should I replace my toothbrush?

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3 things you must know in regards to toothbrush replacement are as follows:

1. Worn and broken toothbrush bristles:

Toothbrush bristles are designed to clean your teeth. When the bristles on your toothbrush are frayed or splayed, it’s a sign that your toothbrush is not doing its job and you need to change it. Multiple brands are available in the market from which you can choose your desired toothbrush. FOSOO is one such brand. They offer a wide variety of electric toothbrushes and brush heads.

2. Risk of Germs and Bacteria:

Even if you think your toothbrush still looks brand new, microbes could be hiding inside your bristles and you can’t sterilize them at home. Some households have employed the use of disinfectants on toothbrushes. Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) have contraindicated the soaking of toothbrushes in disinfectants or mouthwashes. Electric toothbrushes are a quick easy fix when it comes to toothbrush replacement. It’s mainly because of the availability of brush heads that can be replaced timely.

3. After recovery from any kind of illness:

After every time you’re sick you should technically change your toothbrush to avoid contamination. If you like to practice diligent hygiene you would never skip the slightest chance of re-infection.

Views of a Dentist on Toothbrush replacement every 3 months:

Fraying (bending) of bristles

Dentists believe that the calculated timeline of ADA is not parallel to day-to-day life. When the question of toothbrush replacement was asked from a dentist a different answer was given.

“It really depends, how often you use your toothbrush.” – Dr. Keith Arbeitman

Upon further inquisition, Dr. Arbeitman shed further light on the topic conveying the following key points:

• Fraying (bending) of bristles is a sign of toothbrush replacement.

• Touch your teeth with your tongue and slide it past your teeth, after brushing. Your slide will be smooth and slippery. Loss of this smoothness will be a sign of changing your toothbrush (or brush head).

• Air-dry your bristles by keeping your toothbrush in a standing position.

• Avoid the usage of toothbrushes with caps.

Dental Journal of New York State has a published study which says that caps of toothbrushes can lead to:

“growth of opportunistic micro-organisms like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which may cause infection in the oral cavity”.

Therefore, your toothbrush must never have a cap so as to avoid the above-mentioned hazard.

What would happen if I don’t replace my toothbrush?

Increased prevalence of gingivitis

Worn-out toothbrushes can lead to the following hazards:

1. Damage to tooth enamel and gums:

When the nylon-made bristles undergo wear and tear they become worn out. These worn out bristles are sharp and rough. This roughness leads to increased abrasion of tooth enamel, increased prevalence of gingival recession, and increased risk of periodontal disease.

2. Increased prevalence of gingivitis:

Not changing a frayed toothbrush could lead to serious gum problems. This is because of the retention of biofilm on the surface of teeth. This biofilm eventually transforms into plaque. Further retention leads to the formation of calculus which gradually leads to gum recession and plaque-induced gingivitis. Apart from quick brush head replacement, sonic clean toothbrushes have added advantages of effective plaque removal. This results in good oral hygiene, thereby, preventing expensive dental treatments such as root canal, etc.

3. Fungus and mold contamination:

Have you ever noticed black slime on the bristle bed or on the handle of your toothbrush? Black slime is a sign of fungus. Whenever this happens you must discard your toothbrush right away. Seldom occurrence of unpleasant odor is also noticed, instead of the black slime. Your reaction must be, same as above, when this happens.


In conclusion, you must change your toothbrush once it’s frayed or broken. Moreover, you must also replace your toothbrush if you’ve recently recovered from an illness. ADA recommended time for toothbrush replacement is 3 months but replacement might need to be done after the 1st month. It all depends on the condition of bristles along with other conditions as talked about in the preceding sections.

Dr. Saadullah Khawar

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