How often should I change my Toothbrush?

Find UK Dentists »

Not brushing correctly is a problem which affects many more people than you would think. Many people don't come anywhere near the full two minutes which you are usually advised to brush your teeth for and many keep the same toothbrush for long periods despite the fact it has become worn and won't work correctly. Not only does a toothbrush accumulate food particles as it is used, but will also wear out quickly under the strain of regular use. Most dentists would agree that you should change your brush at least every three months or whenever the bristles start to tilt to one side. When bristles become tilted, they tend to lose their ability to clear the food debris from the nooks and crannies of teeth. Three months is the upper limit for retaining a toothbrush for both adults and children, research indicates that by this time the brush will have lost most of its effectiveness at cleaning your teeth. After three months, many brushes tend to develop broken bristles which can potentially harbour a range of bacteria and fungi which may lead to a range of oral health problems.

For electric toothbrushes, there is a slightly different set of guidelines. Many powered brushes can be used for up to six months without needing a change of head. However if you've recently had a tooth or gum infection, it is important to change your brush to avoid the infection reappearing . If you are currently receiving treatment for a gum infection or tooth decay then it is commonly recommended that your brush is changed at least every six weeks.

It is also important to rinse the toothbrush using warm water after each use as this will provide natural sanitisation.

There are a range of toothbrushes on the market with a variety of different features, so when you do switch, you will have a lot of options. It is important to make sure your child's brush is regularly changed as children often chew their bristles, making them tilt. Brushing with tilted bristles is not only ineffective but could lead to gum problems in some cases.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »