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New Toothbrush

When Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

How long has your toothbrush been in use? Three months? Six months? Longer than that? In any of those cases, it’s time to retire the old toothbrush and buy yourself a new one.

A typical toothbrush has a three-month usability life, after which it simply doesn’t perform as well as it should. And if you’re going through all the effort to brush your teeth 2-3 times a day (which you should, by the way), you’ll probably feel better knowing that you’re getting the most out of your tooth brushing regimen with a newer brush.

Did you know? A 2010 study published by Philips (yes, the Sonicare people) showed that a new toothbrush removed up to 28% more plaque and food debris than one that had been used for three months.

As you use your toothbrush, the bristles lose their “stiffness” over time and wear out. It’s something that’s true with any toothbrush on the market. As such, most dentists – including Dr. Watts – believe that everybody in the family should have a new toothbrush every 3 months. If it’s time to ditch the old toothbrushes and pick up new ones, think of it as a family shopping excursion. Everybody gets to pick out a new toothbrush in a new color. The kids can choose from a number of cool toothbrushes with familiar superhero or cartoon character designs. (Parents, just remember to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the package!)

So, what kind of toothbrush should we buy? An excellent question! There are basically two types of toothbrushes on the market: manual toothbrushes and powered toothbrushes. The manual toothbrush has been around for about 5,000 years. But you wouldn’t want to brush your teeth with some of the early models, believe us! The powered or electric toothbrush has only been on the market for about 50 years. Modern electric toothbrushes – such as the Sonicare and the Oral-B – are quite effective at removing plaque, cleaning teeth, and massaging gums. But, it may not be the proper toothbrush for the little ones in the family. Those who are still mastering their hand coordination and fine motor skills need to start with a manual toothbrush. When choosing a manual toothbrush, the important things to remember are as follows:

1. The size of the toothbrush head is related to the age of the user. You’ll want tiny toothbrush heads for toddlers and full-size heads for adults. Essentially, you want a toothbrush head big enough to brush around all of the surfaces of the teeth without being too big to utilize effectively.

2. Find yourself a soft-bristle toothbrush that allows you to brush to your satisfaction without irritating your gums or scouring tooth enamel and root surfaces unnecessarily. Medium and hard bristle brushes are not often recommended by dentists.

3. When in doubt, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval on your toothbrush package.

This article brought to you by Watts Family Dental. An Overland Park dentist that is committed to healthy smiles for the whole family. Please call (913) 338-3384 or visit our Overland Park, Kansas office. You may also send an e-mail direct to at any time.

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