Establishing proper oral hygiene includes taking care of your child’s toothbrush and replacing it when the time is right. It remains important to keep the toothbrush your child places in his or her mouth every day fresh and clean. This can be easily overlooked however, as teaching your kid to brush their teeth properly is usually the primary focus, along with all the other basic needs a parent attends to on a daily basis for their child. Paying attention to these details however is crucial to dental health, and parents should be very mindful of professional recommendations regarding toothbrush care and replacement.

Toothbrush Care

  • To keep kids and their toothbrushes healthy, make sure the toothbrush dries out between each use. Bacteria and other germs can thrive on surfaces like the head of a toothbrush, and over time, these bacteria can accumulate to notable levels. To avoid this and keep your child’s toothbrush as clean and germ free as possible, shake the toothbrush vehemently under the faucet water after brushing, and then store it in an upright position in order for it to dry out as much as possible between each use. Having a toothbrush holder with individual spots to hold multiple brushes is a suitable idea.
  • To keep sicknesses from spreading between family members, make sure toothbrushes are stored in a way that they will not touch each other. For those who are extremely meticulous about germ control, toothbrushes can even be soaked in mouthwash, which can be used as an antiseptic, every so often.

When is the right time to replace your child’s Toothbrush?

  • Toothbrushes do not last forever and in fact, should be replaced quite often to practice optimal oral hygiene. The ‘’American Dental Association’’ recommends a toothbrush be switched every 3 months, having more to do with the attrition to the bristles rather than the buildup of bacteria and germs. After three solid months of wear and tear to the bristles, the amount of plaque able to be removed from the teeth and gums considerably decreases and brushing becomes not as effective. Ultimately, as the bristles wear down over time, they are no longer able to reach and remove bacteria from the hard to reach places, like the corners and between teeth.
  • In most cases, children’s toothbrushes need to be replaced quicker than adults. Three months is a general recommendation, but for some kids, those who brush harder or with more force for example, toothbrushes may need to be replaced more frequently. The key factor might not necessarily be the time, but the shape of the bristles.  Overall, we recommend to parents to pay attention to how worn a child’s toothbrush looks, and as soon as the bristles begin spouting in different directions, the brush should be replaced with a new one.
  • It is also never a bad idea to change your child’s toothbrush after they have been sick with an illness such as the flu, a cold virus, sore throat, or any kind of mouth infection. After using a toothbrush while sick, bacteria and germs pertaining to the illness can hide and thrive in the bristles of the brush, enabling the actual toothbrush to potentially               re-infect the child and cause he or she to become sick again.

Tips for remembering to replace your child’s toothbrush

  • Some types of toothbrushes are made with bristles that switch colors when they wear down over time, serving as an obvious indication that the brush head has become less effective.
  • A good reminder to replace a toothbrush is to get in the habit of buying a new brush every time the child visits the dentist for their 6-month checkup/cleaning and then again, half way between their last appointment and their next. Also, you can try remembering to change a child’s toothbrush at the beginning of each of the four seasons throughout the year. Again, the condition of the bristles is the most important factor to pay attention to.

Happy Brushing!

The Capital Dental Team