The ADA recommends replacing toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months or sooner if the bristles get worn. This is more about the bristles, than the germs. When the bristles start to bend in different directions, the brush is not as effective at cleaning teeth and it is time to replace. It is often the case that children's toothbrushes wear out even more quickly, if chewing is involved.
It's a good idea to replace brushes to coincide with each dental cleaning. It can also be a good practice to replace the whole family's brushes at the same time.
The ADA and the Council on Scientific Affairs also has recommendations on toothbrush care and storage. These can extend the life of the brush and prevent harmful bacteria. These include:
- Store the brush in an upright position. This helps with proper dry-time and gets the brush out of standing water.
- Keep brushes apart. If you do store brushes together, try to keep the bristles from touching to reduce contamination.
- Rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing. This will remove any remaining toothpaste and debris.
- Do not store in closed containers. Keeping your toothbrush covered just aids the bacteria to have the perfect environment.
Dr. Sierra, Dr. Lynn, Dr. Dawoud, and Dr. Weil are all available to answer any questions you may have about your child's toothbrush, dental habits, and their oral development. If we don't see you before the holidays, we hope they are a special time for your family.