Recently, you walked into your child’s bathroom for a routine cleaning and you saw something that you haven’t paid attention to in a while.
Your child’s toothbrush.
You make sure that they brush twice a day and floss, but you never really stopped to actually look at the bristles, which are now worn down. And let’s be honest, Elsa looked much better on the toothbrush the day you bought it. Now, not so much.
With how hectic life can be, we here at Little Heroes Dentistry understand that replacing toothbrushes periodically can be the last thing on your mind. But with a little inspection and this trusty guide, you’ll know when the time is right to switch out those old toothbrushes.
The Golden Rule of Toothbrushes
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), parents should replace their children’s toothbrushes every three months.
While the ADA certainly isn’t the toothbrush police, their recommendation is sound advice. Normally, you will want to change out your child’s toothbrush after three months because it starts to lose its effectiveness.
While toothbrushes generally last around the three-month mark, some of them can last fewer or longer than that time frame, and you will have to be on the lookout on when toothbrushes go bad.
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The Bristles Are Worn Down
Take a look at your child’s toothbrush. Do the bristles look a little off? Do they point in all sorts of directions? This usually means that the bristles are worn down.
With children, this could happen more quickly than it would with an adult toothbrush. Children tend to brush their teeth really hard and this causes the bristles to become frayed.
Frayed toothbrushes are notorious for lacking the ability to properly clean your children’s teeth and leaving plenty of bacteria behind that can cause cavities and gum disease. With a brand new toothbrush, the straight bristles will help to polish those pearly whites with ease, getting into all those nooks, crannies, and hard-to-reach places where bacteria like to hide.
The Bristles Are Flattened
Maybe the toothbrush isn’t that old, and maybe the bristles aren’t frayed, but if the bristles are flattened, you still need to replace it. If your child stores their toothbrush in an awkward place or position, the bristles can, essentially, become crushed.
Take for example camping. If your child goes to summer camp, he or she may pack their toothbrush in their travel case. Nine times out of ten, it may have been thrown in there without much thought, so the bristles may have been crushed by everything else that is in their pack.
A toothbrush with flattened bristles is just about as effective as a frayed toothbrush. Both are unable to clean your children’s teeth effectively, leaving all of that bacteria to wreak havoc on their teeth and gums.
If You Are Concerned With Bacterial Growth
When you truly think about it, toothbrushes can harbor some pretty gross stuff. Of course, as adults, we rinse them off and set them up straight to combat bacteria growth. But what about our children?
With children, it may be a worse situation if they don’t properly clean out their toothbrush after use. Uncleaned toothbrushes can hold a number of nasties like flu, strep, staph, and E. Coli.
Make sure your children rinse their toothbrushes thoroughly to wash out all of these harmful bacterias, germs, and viruses.
If They Have Been Sick
While your child may have already have fought off a sickness, that doesn’t mean that your other children – or you – are in the clear.
A toothbrush that is grouped with other toothbrushes—for instance in a toothbrush holder on the sink—can spread the sickness to your other children, spouse, guests, or you. It’s a good idea to chuck the infected toothbrush into the trash.
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What to Consider When Purchasing a New Toothbrush
When purchasing a toothbrush, you’ll want to make a decision on what type to buy based on your child’s needs. Will a manual toothbrush do just fine or do you want your child to have an electric one?
Ensuring that your children’s teeth and gums are healthy is just as easy as following a daily brushing and flossing routine and a periodic visit to our Mission, San Juan, and Laredo dentists. Contact us at any of our South Texas locations to schedule a dentist appointment today.
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