Your toothbrush is a necessary tool for keeping a healthy smile. Do you know when to replace your brush? How you should care for it? Do you need to sanitize your toothbrush?

Toothbrush tips from the ADA

The American Dental Association says that you should replace toothbrushes every 3–4 months. You may need to replace one sooner if the bristles become frayed. Brushing your teeth is necessary for effective plaque removal. Likewise, proper toothbrush care is important.

Yes, microorganisms can grow on brushes after use. However, there is not enough evidence to support that bacterial growth on toothbrushes will lead to specific adverse effects. Therefore, you do not necessarily need to sanitize your toothbrush. Simply care for it properly and replace as recommended.

The ADA and the Council on Scientific Affairs provide these tips:

  • Do not share toothbrushes
  • Rinse brushes with warm tap water after brushing
  • Allow the toothbrush to air-dry
  • Store your brush in an upright position
  • Keep multiple brushes separated so as not to share germs
  • Do not cover toothbrushes or store them in containers
  • Replace every 3–4 months or sooner
  • You may need to replace a child’s brush more frequently

If you have had an illness, you can sanitize the brush by soaking it in an antibacterial mouth rinse. Some studies have shown that this can reduce the level of bacteria. When purchasing oral health products, look for ADA approval. Also, be sure that children are using the right toothbrushes for their age.