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.
- 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. Frank Sierra adds, “Buying the right toothbrush for your child involves looking at the packaging for the correct age guidelines. We have a blog on that subject too, so take a look.” We also have another best-practice suggestion and recommend having two toothbrushes. The idea is to alternate every time your child brushes as this allows the toothbrush more time to dry between brushings and extends the life of both brushes.