Do you know how many bacteria live on your toothbrush? Brace yourself! Researchers have found that a single toothbrush can be loaded with as many as 10 million germs and bacteria. In fact, recent studies even found that your toothbrush could be a breeding ground for tiny microorganisms! Yikes!
The good news is, these bacteria aren’t a big threat to your pearly whites. Researchers who discovered toothbrush-dwelling microorganisms found that, usually, the germs and bacteria found on toothbrushes doesn’t make people sick — toothpaste has an anti-germ component built into it, and the microbes need moisture to survive. So as long as your toothbrush is given time to dry after you use it, it should be safe! Experts recommend that to take care of your teeth and your toothbrush, it’s important to use your toothbrush the way you’re supposed to: rinse it in tap water, and then let it air dry in an upright position.
The American Dental Association recommends getting a new toothbrush (or brush head, if you use an electric type) about every three months — more because of the wear on the bristles than germs. However, if you have had a cold or if sickness has been going through your house, it’s better to be safe than sorry and change out that toothbrush!
And, remember, wear depends more on the brusher than the brush. If you have a heavy hand, the bristles might wear out sooner. Remember that the key determinant is not the calendar but the shape the bristles are in.
Check your children’s toothbrushes regularly because they probably will need to be replaced more frequently. Some toothbrushes have bristles that change colors to indicate they’ve worn out (a glaring reminder it’s time to buy a new brush).
You can also develop the habit of changing your toothbrush with every check-up (provided you see your dentist every six months) and then again midway before the next appointment. Or try timing the change to the first day of every season — and remember: To every toothbrush, there is a season.