Bacon & Kids

Successfully Bring Home the Bacon and Raise Happy Kids!

Is it time to break up with your toothbrush? How long should the toothbrush relationship last?

on December 11, 2012

How many toothbrushes do you see here in this photo?

replace your toothbrush

We have exactly two kids and here in this picture are 5 toothbrushes for 2 kids.  It appears that breaking up with a  toothbrush is not easy for my precious little ones.  In fact, I believe that to be true for many adults as well.  Is that true with you?

So how long should you keep your toothbrush anyway?  How long should the relationship last?

It is recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if the bristles have started to fray. (Children’s toothbrush bristles tend to fray faster because of their brushing technique so keep an eye on them.) Replacement every 3 months is recommended because with normal wear and tear your toothbrush loses its effectiveness and efficiency to clean your teeth. Not only that but toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for germs, fungus and bacteria, which after a while can build up to significant levels. GROSS!

Typically if you’re seeing your dentist every 6 months they’ll provide you with a new toothbrush at each visit so you’ll need to only buy two a year. Thankfully, toothbrushes are fairly inexpensive.
If the toothbrush aisle at the store is overwhelming,  just ask your dentist what type of toothbrush is best for you and your family.

In addition to replacing your toothbrush every 3 months here are just a few tips to help keep your toothbrush “cleaner”.

  • Wash your hands before handling your toothbrush.
  • Wash your toothbrush before and after each use.
  • Avoid keeping lots of toothbrushes in a cup where they touch and spread germs.
  • Do not cover or store toothbrushes in closed containers
  • Use Toothpaste
  • Don’t share your toothbrush!
  • Replace your toothbrush after a cold or flu. (Some say that germs hiding in the bristles can lead to reinfection while others disagree. Whether that’s true or not, for my family I go ahead and replace the toothbrush…just in case 😉
  • The ADA does not recommend other methods of toothbrush care, such as putting it in the dishwasher or microwave to kill germs. In fact, the high heat may damage the bristles, thus reducing their effectiveness.

I really like this toothbrush storage idea:

Source: IHeart Organizing

Source: IHeart Organizing

Note:  Replacement rules are the same for electric toothbrush heads.

I can see that it’s time to help my kids break up with some (or all) of their current toothbrushes. I’m sure the promise of getting to pick out a new from the store will make them happy.

Until next time, here are a few interesting toothbrush facts for you:

Blue toothbrushes are the most popular color
Americans spend over $850 million a year on toothbrushes
Women brush their teeth more often than men.
The first known toothbrush with bristles originated in China in 1948. The first toothbrush was made of bone or bamboo with hog bristles. (yuck)
The average person only brushes for about 40 seconds a day. It’s suggested you brush 2-3 minutes at least twice a day.

Happy & Healthy Teeth to you!!


For tips on how to care for your baby’s smile,  visit an earlier post of ours here.


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