Every 3 to 4 months or sooner if the bristles get worn, the ADA recommends replacing toothbrushes. This is more concerning the bristles than the germs. The brush is not as effective at cleaning teeth, and it is time to replace when the bristles start to bend in different directions. If chewing is involved, it often the case that children’s toothbrushes wear out even more quickly. To coincide with each dental cleaning, it is a good idea to replace brushes. To replace the whole family’s brushes at the same time can also be a good practice. Today, we at Smile Reef would like to discuss the importance of changing the toothbrush and types of the toothbrush.
How Do I Protect My Toothbrush from Bacteria?
Recommendations on toothbrush care and storage are offered by the ADA and the Council on Scientific Affairs. Below are tips can extend the life of the brush and prevent harmful bacteria.
1) Use an upright position to store the brush. This helps promotes proper dry-time and gets the brush out of standing water faster.
2) Store brushes apart. Try to keep the bristles from touching to reduce contamination if you do store brushes together.
3) After brushing, rinse toothbrushes with tap water. You can remove any remaining toothpaste and debris doing so.
4) Avoid closed containers. The bacteria have the perfect environment to flourish when you keep the toothbrush covered.
Tips to Brush Kids Teeth
Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time is essential regardless of which brush you are using. From infants to teens, below are a few recommendations of toothbrushes that work well at all stages of children.
Infants/Babies: To gently massage the baby’s gums is how they function, and most toothbrushes for babies are made of soft silicone. The Dr. Brown’s Finger Toothbrush and the Baby Banana are highly recommended. Gently massage and clean their child’s gums with the former and for kids to get used to holding a brush on their own is best with the latter. Be sure to invest in a toothbrush that is BPA free if choosing other brands.
Toddlers: Start incorporating a small, soft bristled brush, once a child’s teeth start coming in, usually beginning at 6-10 months of age. Get the little ones one with a wide handle that the child can hold onto and “brush” by themselves. Also, wide handles can also be used as a teether. If your child is extra fussy during teething, putting the brush in the fridge/freezer beforehand can help. You will need to help them brush but letting them also do it themselves starts the journey of taking ownership of caring for their teeth.
Ages 3+: You can transition to a regular manual/electric toothbrush, usually after age 3 when you feel your child is ready. It’s easier for kids to acclimate and transition to an electric toothbrush, there are multiple colors that kids enjoy, and the vibration/brushing strength isn’t as strong as other electric toothbrushes. Even if kids aren’t ready for the vibration, they can still use it manually and it is relatively thin/sleek.
Older Kids (Ages 7+): Though we recommend parents check in every so often to make sure they are doing a good job and not forgetting to floss, kids can generally clean their own teeth independently.