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What Happens When You Use an Old Toothbrush?


Posted on 10/20/2016 by Dr. Janice Pliszczak
A woman examining her old toothbrush.
Dentists are always telling you that you need to regularly change your toothbrush. So what happens if you don't? Is it really a big deal if you continue to use an old toothbrush? Yes! Here's more information.

You re-introduce bacteria into your mouth over and over again. Remember you use your toothbrush to remove bacteria, food detritus, and other unpleasant things from your mouth.

After you finish brushing and rinsing your toothbrush, some of that stuff hangs around in the bristles where it can breed and multiply in number. If you're using an old toothbrush, you're putting all those nasty germs back in your mouth over and over again.

The bristles stop working. Your toothbrush works because the bristles scrape the teeth clean. However, over time, the bristles lose their rigidity and become less effective at removing plaque. In fact, some research has shown that after 3 months a toothbrush is 95% less effective than when you first started using it. Now you see why your dentist is always telling you to change out your brush!

You make yourself sick again. You already talked about how your toothbrush can harbor bacteria. When you are sick and you brush your teeth, you leave disease-causing organisms on your toothbrush. So then when you recover and brush again, you expose yourself to the illness all over again.

While this may not be a problem if your immune system is robust and strong, it's an added risk that you just don't need. So please, change your brush after you recover from an illness.

A toothbrush is an invaluable tool in your battle against gum disease and tooth decay. However, as with any tool, it must be used properly. This means you need to change it on a regular basis.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about your toothbrush.

Janice Pliszczak, DDS
4525 W Seneca Turnpike,
Syracuse, NY 13215-9785
Phone: (315) 800-5020

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