Some people may only change their toothbrush out when they visit their dentist for cleanings; however, you may be surprised to learn that you should be changing your toothbrush out more often. The same goes for toothpaste. Some people may buy their toothpaste in bulk and put them in storage with other toiletries, but toothpaste does have a shelf life. Read on to learn more about when you should be changing these products out so that you can improve your oral health routine.
When Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
When bristles on a toothbrush fray and become warped, it's harder to effectively clean your teeth and remove plaque. A report from CNBC says that people should be replacing their toothbrushes at least every three months. If you have more aggressive brushing habits, you may need to replace your toothbrush even sooner.
If you get an illness, like a cold or the flu, you should also be changing your toothbrush out. While some bacteria are anaerobic, meaning that they will die in the presence of oxygen, some germs may linger in toothbrush bristles—especially if the toothbrush doesn't adequately air dry. You don't want to risk re-infection, so it's a good idea to switch to a new brush after being sick.
Lastly, you should change out your toothbrush more often if you share the bathroom with lots of other people—especially in a dorm or other place with a communal bathroom. WebMD highlighted a study where more than half of the participants' brushes were contaminated with fecal matter, regardless of their storage method. They said that the presence of one's own fecal matter wasn't the main concern—the issue was that when a toothbrush is contaminated with fecal matter from someone else, you are exposing yourself to parasites, bacteria, and viruses that are not a part of your normal gut flora. Toothbrushes should be removed from the bathroom and allowed to air dry; toothbrush covers weren't helpful and tended to keep the bristles too moist, which encouraged bacterial growth. If you need to store your toothbrushes in a holder, make sure they are further apart from other people's brushes to prevent cross-contamination.
When Should You Change Your Toothpaste?
Colgate says that in general, many kinds of toothpaste expire after two years. If you have many people using one toothpaste container, you may not run into any issues, but if you are frugal or buy in bulk, your toothpaste may expire before you know it. The problem with expired toothpaste is that ingredients, like fluoride, can break down and lose their effectiveness, which means that it won't help you protect your enamel from bacteria. If toothpaste is uncapped or improperly stored, it can also develop fungi and bacteria. Ultimately, you should look at the expiration date on your toothpaste tubes to know when to change them out; you should also be storing the toothpaste in a cool, closed cabinet since hot temperatures can separate ingredients and make the paste less effective at cleaning.
Reach out to your dentist today for more tips on improving your oral hygiene routine.