if the bristles are worn or it’s been more than 3 months. Otherwise, the toothbrush won’t remove as much plaque from the surface of your child’s teeth and gums.
While it’s normal for children to cling onto familiar objects, choosing a new toothbrush can be a fun experience that also teaches them the importance of oral hygiene.
Life is an adventure. As such, it’s important that you prepare your child on their journey toward better oral health. Continue reading to learn how to maintain a clean, healthy toothbrush for your child.
3 Months Have Passed
The American Dental Association recommends parents replace their children’s toothbrushes every 3 months. Over time, the bristles on your child’s toothbrush get worn and aren’t able to remove as much bacteria or plaque as they did when they were new.
The “3-month rule” is merely a suggestion based on average toothbrush use. Some people may brush their teeth more vigorously than others and require their toothbrush to be replaced sooner.
We recommend parents pay special attention to the shape of the toothbrush bristles. If the bristles are pointing out in all directions, you’ll need to replace your toothbrush, even if it hasn’t been 3 months yet. During your child’s next appointment, feel free to ask one of our pediatric dentists for more oral health tips.
Bristles are Worn
If you notice the bristles on your child’s toothbrush are beginning to point in different directions, it’s time for a new toothbrush. A frayed toothbrush won’t be able to remove bacteria and plaque as efficiently as a new toothbrush. New toothbrushes have straight bristles, which will be able to easily clean in between teeth and other hard-to-reach places.
Bristles are Flat
Whenever you go on a trip, it’s important to store your child’s toothbrush in a protective travel case. Otherwise, the bristles will become flattened in your child’s suitcase. Similar to worn bristles, bristles that are flattened are unable to clean your child’s teeth as efficiently as they did prior to being crushed.
You’re Concerned About Bacteria Growth
Did you know that all sorts of nasty things can grow on your children’s toothbrushes? Some examples include flu, strep, staph, and E. coli. As parents, it can be easy for us to forget about the condition of our child’s toothbrush when we’re so focused on trying to get them to brush in the first place.
Make sure you replace your child’s toothbrush every 3 months so they aren’t brushing their teeth with a bacteria-infected toothbrush. An easy way to remember is toat the beginning of the four seasons.
Make sure you buy a new toothbrush for yourself too. To make things even easier, most reputable pediatric dentists offer their patients new toothbrushes at the end of their appointments.
It’s Cold and Flu Season
Your child can’t re-infect themselves with the flu or other viruses by continuing to use the same toothbrush. This is because their body creates antibodies that make them immune to that specific strain of the illness. However, this doesn’t mean that their toothbrush can’t harbor germs that could spread to toothbrushes belonging to other family members.
It’s relatively easy for germs to spread if your family’s toothbrushes are all stored in the same place, which is why you may want to consider replacing your child’s toothbrush. If one of your children just got over a bad bug, you may want to consider toothbrush replacement so that they don’t share their germs with anyone else, including you.
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[This post has been updated.]