This is when you need to change your toothbrush

Shopping for a new toothbrush isn't exactly exciting, but it is something you should be doing regularly. Using an old toothbrush can be bad for your dental health.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you need to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a toothbrush with soft bristles. The CDC and ADA agree that you need to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. You should also replace your brush when the bristles are frayed or matted, whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush.

In a 2013 study, 36 people were given similar toothbrushes and separated into two groups. One group used the same toothbrush throughout the 3-month study, while the other group changed their toothbrushes every month. Researchers checked the participants' plaque buildup every month and photographed their toothbrushes to see how flared the bristles were. By the end of the three months, the group that didn't replace their toothbrushes monthly had significantly more plaque buildup than the other group. The study found that the cause of the plaque buildup was due to the bristle flaring on their toothbrushes, which affected their ability to remove plaque.

How to take care of your toothbrush

According to the CDC, there are millions of germs inside your mouth, and your toothbrush can easily get contaminated with toothpaste, saliva, oral debris, blood, and bacteria. Because of those risks, you should be thoroughly rinsing your toothbrush with tap water after you brush and allow it to air dry in an upright position, such as in a glass. Don't let other toothbrushes touch yours, and don't share them with others. Avoid storing your toothbrush in a closed container, as this will cause bacteria growth. Skip using UV light disinfecting devices, microwaves, and dishwashers as they will likely damage your toothbrush.

Healthline recommends replacing everyone's toothbrush if anyone in your home has been sick or if anyone has used your toothbrush by mistake. Keep an eye on your kid's toothbrush as they might need theirs replaced more often than every three to four months. Kids tend to chew or bite down on their toothbrushes. If you can avoid these mistakes everyone makes when brushing their teeth, your teeth and gums will thank you.