Dental Blog

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

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replace your toothbrush holland mi dentistReplace your toothbrush if the bristles are frayed, bent, or twisted out of shape. Once the bristles are worn, your toothbrush won’t remove food and plaque as effectively as it did when it was new.

Both dentists and manufacturers recommend replacing a manual toothbrush every 12 to 16 weeks. Since electric toothbrush heads have shorter bristles, they also have a shorter lifespan of 12 weeks. Electric toothbrush bristles are also made out of nylon, which wears faster.

Here’s what else you need to know about replacing your toothbrush.

How to Take Care of Your Toothbrush

If you don’t take care of your toothbrush, you may need to replace it sooner.

When you’re done brushing your teeth, rinse the bristles with cool tap water. Then, shake off any clinging water droplets into the sink. Next, store your toothbrush upright with open access to air.

Do NOT place your toothbrush in an airtight container. This can lead to bacteria and mold growth.

If your family uses the same cup to store their toothbrushes, make sure that the heads don’t touch so you don’t swap bacteria.

If someone in your household gets sick (especially if they have strep throat), replace all the toothbrushes.

Toothbrushes for Small Children

When you first teach your child how to brush their teeth, they may gnaw on the bristles or handle. As a result, the toothbrush bristles can get bent out of shape sooner than usual. We recommend replacing your child’s toothbrush as needed so they always have the best protection from plaque.

Dr. Habecker can also help your child learn the best oral hygiene habits so they can maintain a healthy smile for life.

What Happens If You Don’t Replace Your Toothbrush?

It’s normal for your toothbrush to wear over time. After all, you should be using that toothbrush two times a day for at least two minutes at a time. With that kind of use, the bristles will lose their stiffness over time.

If you use an old toothbrush, it won’t remove dental plaque and food as effectively as it did when it was new. As such, we may notice more plaque buildup during your next teeth cleaning appointment with us. Over time, plaque will harden into tartar and can lead to oral health issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

When you buy a new toothbrush or toothbrush head, set a reminder for yourself to replace it in the future. This could be as simple as marking the day on the calendar app on your phone.

Request an Appointment With Dr. Habecker

Dr. Brenton Habecker is a respected family dentist in Holland, MI. As such, he’d be more than happy to answer your oral hygiene questions during your next visit with us. We can also recommend toothbrushes and other products to help you maintain a healthy smile.

To request an appointment, please call Macatawa Smiles at (616) 396-7524. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our office will reach out to you soon.


Dear Patient Family,

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care and we appreciate your understanding while we kept our office closed to follow orders from the Governor's Office.

We are happy to say that we are opening our office for all patient treatment on June 1st, 2020. Our hours of operation will go back to normal, Monday-Thursday 8am - 5pm. We want you to know that there will be some changes at your next appointment. Please be patient with us as our protocols will inevitably change as new guidelines are released.

  • We ask that you use our parking lot as the waiting room.
  • Please wear a mask when you come into the office and leave it on until entering the treatment room. Homemade is acceptable.
  • Only the person receiving treatment should come in the building, all others will be asked to wait in the car if at all possible. The exception will be for our minor patients who may have one parent accompany them.
  • We will be asking you some questions when you arrive at the office and we will also be taking your temperature.
  • We will not be able to offer magazines, drinks, or toys at this time as they cannot be disinfected to our standards. Eventually this will change and we will be happy to offer our amenities once again.

These changes have been made to adhere to the latest CDC guidelines and for the benefit of our patients and our staff. We want you to know that our office has always taken the safety of our patients very seriously and that we will continue to follow the highest levels of sterilization and disinfection to keep you protected. If you would like more information on what measures we have taken we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

We cannot say how excited we are to see all of our patients again and to provide for their dental needs. We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces soon!

Dr. Habecker and Team