Toothbrushes do a lot of work if you use them right. That means they wear down. Bristles get bent, soft or fuzzy.
But you probably should be tossing them before you can see the signs. Because of . . . germs.
Your toothbrush harbors a lot of bacteria. You can’t see it, but it might cause tooth decay or illness.
According to the American Dental Association, you should:
Use a soft-bristled brush — always!
Soft bristles clean plaque just as well as harder ones. But they don’t scratch the enamel or harm your gums.
Rinse well under running water to clean after each use.
You don’t need to use special cleansers.
Store upright to dry.
If you store it with other people’s brushes, make sure the bristles don’t touch.
Wash and dry the toothbrush storage container often.
It’s probably one of the germiest places in your house.
Don’t share your toothbrush.
It’s full of body fluids that can raise the risk of infection.
Don’t keep the brush in a closed container or cap it for long.
Moisture gets trapped and germs breed.
Rinse, dry and replace is the best approach for most people. You don’t need to bother with special routines.
If someone in your household is immune-suppressed, disposable toothbrushes might be a good idea.
For some people electric is better. You probably brush better and remove more plaque with an electric brush. And if you have arthritis or stiff hands, they can be easier to hold. But you still need to replace the head every 3-4 months.