There is a lot of talk about how important oral health is and what we need to do to maintain a healthy smile. But there is not enough talk about a vital piece in our dental care: the toothbrush. This little tool is important in our everyday life, and without it, we risk damaging and losing our teeth. But how do we know when is the perfect time to change it? And what problems can cause a messed-up toothbrush?
It is important to know that we can’t use one toothbrush forever. We have to change it from time to time because, like everything, it wears down with use and time. A toothbrush in bad shape can do more harm than good. It can cause gum diseases like gingivitis or gum recession, it won’t be able to remove plaque efficiently, and the bacteria can lead to enamel wear down and cavities.
However, most people don’t know or recognize when is the right time to change it, and your dental cleaning routine can be affected by this.
How do I know if it is time to change my toothbrush?
There are some indicative signs to look for that will tell you when to change your toothbrush. Dentists recommend changing toothbrushes after 3 to 4 months of use. This period of time ensures that you use your toothbrush to the maximum without overusing it, and this rule applies to all of them. No matter if you have a regular soft toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, after 4 months of brushing your teeth at least twice a day, all toothbrushes start to wear down.
The first thing you have to look for is the bristles. If your toothbrush bristles are frayed or bent, then it is a good reason to look for a new one. Toothbrush wear down can be caused by brushing your teeth using too much pressure. If the bristles are damaged, bent, hard, or out of their regular shape, they won’t be able to clean your teeth and gums the correct way.
Another clear sign is if your teeth still feel dirty after brushing them. We need to make sure to brush every single corner properly to maintain our oral health, but if the toothbrush bristles are frayed, then this won’t be possible and you will feel your teeth fuzzy after cleaning them. This could potentially lead to brushing too hard with the intention to remove all plaque, but this only will hurt your gums.
Lastly, you will also want to change your toothbrush if it has a bad smell, which could be caused by bacteria and humidity. This is not so common, but it is a sign that you need to change your toothbrush immediately.
Why changing your toothbrush regularly is so important?
Changing your toothbrush at the right time is what ensures that your oral health is optimal. As we mentioned, if the bristles have damaged, it is possible that your toothbrush is causing more problems than helping you. The main concern is that the bristles cannot remove the plaque and germs effectively, and this could lead to enamel wear down, cavities, gingivitis, infections, and mouth ulcers.
Another concern is that you hurt your gums. Using too much pressure to brush your teeth and gums won’t make them cleaner, but it can lead to gum recession and tooth sensitivity. You can notice if toothbrushes are hurting your gums because after brushing your teeth you will see blood or feel sore spots.
A good toothbrush that is in shape won’t hurt your gums, it will feel soft, and it will clean your teeth with effectiveness. But, how do we know what toothbrushes are good for us?
Tips to choose a new toothbrush
Picking up the prettier or cheaper toothbrush might be the easiest, but we need to be aware of the quality. As we mentioned, this tool is essential to prevent dental issues, so it is important that we take a few minutes to choose one.
The main tip is to look for a toothbrush that has the American Dental Association seal of approval. It is a small logo that says ADA, and it indicates that the toothbrush design and materials align with the dentists association’s requirements and standards, so it is safe and recommended to use.
If we notice that we are brushing too hard, then the best toothbrushes for us are electric toothbrushes. Modern versions let you know if you are adding too much pressure with a signal, which is extremely helpful to avoid hurting our gums. Also, if you tend to brush quickly, these even have a timer of around two minutes so you take your time to brush your teeth well.
Another important piece of advice is to look for toothbrushes with soft bristles. Not only is easier and more comfortable to use, but it will prevent you hurt your gums and mouth while brushing.
How to brush your teeth properly?
Brushing our teeth regularly is important since we need to remove bacteria that can affect our enamel and overall dental health. Even though everybody does it, there can be doubts about if we are doing it right or wrong.
After we pick a good toothbrush, we need to use enough toothpaste to brush our teeth. The recommended amount is about the size of a pea. We need to place our toothbrush in a 45º angle, and then we start to gently scrub the outer surface of our teeth. Then we can move to the interior and practice circular movements. To finish with your brushing session, don’t forget to clean the tongue, cheeks, and palate.
Of course, it is important to floss, and if you want, you can rinse with mouthwash. A proper cleaning routine needs to include brushing, flossing, and rinsing, so you can reach all the areas of your mouth and clean them, including cheeks and tongue.
It is important that we don’t rush this process or apply pressure, since this can hurt our mouths. It is recommended that our brushing routine takes around two minutes and that we dedicate enough time to all corners and superficies. How do we know if we did it correctly? You will feel all your teeth smooth like glass.