In a bathroom somewhere, the toothbrush laments his deplorable existence and pours his heart out to his neighbors. "Sometimes I get so depressed because I think I have the most awful job in the world," says the toothbrush. Then from the hollow depths of the lavatory someone shouts. "Think again, buddy!" cries the toilet paper.
Yes it starts out with a uniform brush until, with daily vigorous use, its bristles begin to defect like disloyal and mutinous soldiers. So before that happens and you start having cavities in all the wrong places, replace the mutinous and restore order to your oral hygiene. However, when is it the right time to do that?
Regularly every three months - Assuming you brush your teeth twice a day, then you should replace your toothbrush every three months. Ideally it should be two months at most. Remember the Myth busters experiment with possible fecal matter on the toothbrush? (If you don't then, too bad.) Bent bristles cannot do the work as well as the straight ones and replacing them regularly is a must. However, using a worn toothbrush can also do more harm than good, with the brush damaging the gums rather brushing the teeth. Electric toothbrush users must follow the same measure by replacing the brush heads regularly and using original equipment as recommended by the manufacturer.
When you are ill - When you feel that you are coming down with a cold, flu or anything infectious, replace your toothbrush to prevent being reinfected with the same virus/bacteria. Because you put a wet object in your mouth, chances are, whatever it is that has infected you will be transferred to the toothbrush. After using it you wash it and leave it in the bathroom where the temperature and the moisture levels are ideal for the antigen to grow and develop. Every time you use the toothbrush, you reinfect yourself thereby slowing down efforts of your body to recover because of reinfection. In which case, toss it in the trash and get a new one.
Recovering from an illness - Now that you are better, replace the toothbrush to make sure that you are not reinfected. Not only do you prevent reinfection for yourself, but prevent others from getting infected as the simple cold virus is airborne.
A blister develops from a mouth sore - Change your toothbrush when you feel a blister coming on. Aside from the risk of spreading the blister to other parts of your mouth, newer toothbrushes are softer and less painful to use.
Exposure to possible contamination - You should have really remembered that Myth busters episode by now. If you haven't, the myth busters busted a myth that toothbrushes kept inside containers or store outside the bathroom are less susceptible to flying fecal matter than those kept inside the bathroom in close proximity to the toilet bowl. The result: there is an equal amount of fecal matter found in both well kept toothbrushes as in those that were exposed. The reason is that oral bacteria still persist even after one rinse. There are toothbrushes that resist the growth of bacteria but only to a certain degree. Frequent replacement of about 5 to 7 times a year is still advisable.
Parents should remember to replace their children's toothbrushes more often because children's brushing strokes are uneven and tend to wear out bristles faster than adult users.
Remember to thoroughly rinse the toothbrush and use a cap before storing it in a dry area!