Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

4 Reasons You Shouldn't Keep Brushing with an Old Toothbrush

by Brett Clark

Some things only get better with age, but your toothbrush certainly isn't one of them. While it might seem like a toothbrush will keep working properly however long you use it, most dentists will recommend changing to a new one every few months. If you don't, your toothbrush won't be able to properly clean your teeth. In fact, an old toothbrush can actually do more harm than good.

With that in mind, here are just four reasons why you should regularly change your toothbrush.

1. Bristles Get Misaligned

One of the easiest ways to tell if you need a new toothbrush is by checking out the bristles. Over time, they will start to look crooked and bend over due to the force used during brushing and the frequent exposure to the chemicals in toothpaste. When a toothbrush's bristles become twisted or splayed, they aren't able to properly reach all the surfaces of your teeth. They are also more likely to rub against your gums and cause irritation.

2. Bristles Get Sharper

Bristles don't just get bent and crooked over time – that's simply the most visible sign a toothbrush needs to be changed. One thing you won't be able to see is how sharp the ends get. Most toothbrush bristles are made of nylon and are rounded at the end to ensure they aren't too abrasive on your gums and tooth enamel. However, bristles tend to develop sharp edges as a toothbrush wears down. This can lead to anything from enamel erosion to receding gums.

3. Bacteria Can Accumulate

Bacteria can be a problem. However, some bacteria are needed to help start digesting food. It is only when bacteria are allowed to build up too much that gums and teeth will start to be negatively affected. Unfortunately, this can happen when bacteria are allowed to thrive on your toothbrush. One reason it's important to rinse after brushing is to remove bacteria, but it's going to get harder and harder to remove the longer you keep your toothbrush. As such, an older toothbrush will likely harbour more bacteria than a newer one.

4. Frequent Exposure to Contaminants

It isn't just bacteria that can contaminate your toothbrush. Your bathroom is probably also home to small amounts of mould and fungus. You can protect your toothbrush from such contaminants by storing it properly, but older toothbrushes are still likely to develop build-ups of fungus or mould, and such contaminants can impact both your oral health and your overall health. Changing your toothbrush regularly can prevent significant build-ups from developing.

Reach out to a local dentist to learn more.