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  • Sunshine City Dentistry

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

You may have heard different answers throughout the years – 6 months, 3 months, only when you are sick. Maybe, you’ve never even thought about replacing your toothbrush until the bristles are so worn it doesn’t look like a toothbrush anymore! Using your toothbrush for too long will make it less effective at brushing properly and can do more harm than good.

So, what’s the magic number?

A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every 3 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are a few good reasons for this - and this goes for both manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads.

Worn Out Bristles

When your toothbrush bristles are looking frayed and worn, like they’ve seen better days, they will not be as effective at clearing away plaque, especially getting between teeth and in the gumline. When plaque builds up over time, this can not only lead to bad breath, but also lead to a greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

While it’s often stressed to brush your teeth at least twice a day, people often forget about switching out their toothbrush, which is just as important in keeping your teeth and gums plaque-free.

Bacteria Growth

Your toothbrush is constantly exposed to water, food debris, and the bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria are the same kind that cause cavities. The bacteria thrive due to the wet environment of a toothbrush, and because we don’t actually wash our toothbrush (not recommended, by the way), it’s safe to just replace it every 3 months!

Illness Recovery

When you get a cold, flu, or other sickness, that infectious bacteria is transferred to your toothbrush. Some types of germs live for only hours but others can live for months. It’s best to toss your toothbrush immediately after recovering from being sick, especially with viral and bacterial infections like cold sores or strep throat.

Tips to Keeping Bacteria at Bay:

  • Store your toothbrush upright in a container separate from anyone else’s, that way bacteria doesn’t transfer as easily.

  • Thoroughly rinse out your toothbrush after brushing.

  • Don’t store your toothbrush in a closed container, as it is a perfect place for bacterial growth. It’s okay to use a toothbrush cover when traveling, though.

  • Never share your toothbrush.

  • Toss your toothbrush after recovering from an illness.

Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes

When we have a million things on our to-do list, replacing a toothbrush can easily fall to the bottom. Here’s a couple tips on making it as easy as possible.

If you have a manual toothbrush, you know you’ll get at least two new toothbrushes a year after visiting your dentist for regular cleanings. So, if you change your toothbrush halfway between your regular cleanings, you’re all set! Just write it down in your calendar when you schedule your cleaning.

If you have an electric toothbrush, it’s actually pretty easy to keep up with switching out brush heads. Most brands, like Sonicare and Oral-B, have a light on the toothbrush that illuminates when it’s time to change heads. This easily takes the guess-work out of it!


If you’re shopping for a new toothbrush, Dr. Moccia at Sunshine City Dentistry recommends the new Oral-B iO Electric Toothbrush.

As for our toothpaste recommendation - Sensodyne or Arm & Hammer Complete Care are Dr. Moccia’s picks!

So, it might be time to replace your toothbrush! And more importantly, be sure to schedule regular checkups and cleanings with Dr. Moccia at Sunshine City Dentistry to keep your smile healthy!


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