Here’s How Much Bacteria Might Be On Your Toothbrush Right Now

Like your skin-routine and yoga membership, keeping a clean toothbrush is a necessary component of health and wellness.

Brushing our teeth is one of the first things we learn how to do on our own. And, over our lifetimes, it’s one of the things we’ll consistently do every single day—hopefully, twice a day. If you brush your teeth every morning and evening, each time for two-minutes (per your dentist’s recommendation), you will spend approximately one day of every year you’re alive with a toothbrush in your hand, scrubbing away plaque and bacteria.

If you’re going to be putting in that kind of time, you better make sure you’re putting in the right kind of effort. That’s why this Oral Health Month, Oral-B is encouraging Canadians to check their bristles. Think about it: when’s the last time you changed your toothbrush or brush head? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone—and nobody is blaming you. Life is busy, and time can fly by much faster than we realize. With the high demands of modern day health and wellness—13-step skincare routines, $30 meditation classes, mushroom coffee and smoothie bowls—oral care sometimes takes a backseat. It’s not glamorous like candle-lit bubble bath, or Instagrammable like the pink skincare products on your #TopShelfie. Your teeth, however, are a necessary component of health and wellness. If you aren’t regularly changing your toothbrush, you really aren’t taking care of yourself. Here is what Oral-B wants you to know:

How often do I really need to replace my toothbrush or brush head?

Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush at least every three months. Yes, that sounds frequent—but not when you consider how often a dermatologist recommends you change your facecloth. According to skin guru Jennifer Brodeur—who counts Michelle Obama and Oprah among her clients—you should only use a facecloth once before tossing it into the hamper.

If you’re treating your skin with this kind of care and concern, shouldn’t you be treating your mouth the same?

Okay, got it. And what happens if I don’t replace my toothbrush?

Old and overused toothbrushes are actually ineffective. A brand new brush uses fine, sturdy tips to reach cavity-sensitive spots between your teeth and around your gums.

Splayed, worn bristles, however, bend away from your teeth and fail in  removing cavity-causing bacteria. This is why a new toothbrush is able to remove 30% more plaque and clean 95% better than a toothbrush that is three months old.

Oh! And, speaking of bacteria, your toothbrush itself actually experiences a proliferation of bacteria over time.

Gross! How much bacteria are we talking about?

A lot. 100-million bacteria can live on your toothbrush. Think about it: bacteria thrives in moist environments. Chances are, you store your toothbrush in the same space where you take your steamy hot showers. You may also be keeping it next to someone else’s toothbrush, which puts you at an even greater risk of bacteria build-up.

Is there anything else I can do to avoid this?

Changing your toothbrush every three months is the best way to ensure you’re using a clean and effective product. You should also consider investing in an Oral-B toothbrush or electric brush head that features Bacteria Guard Bristles, which helps keep your bristles clean for up to three months by inhibiting microbial growth that may affect the bristles. (Keep in mind, the bristles do not kill bacteria in the mouth of protect you against disease.) It’s an simple way for you to step-up your dental routine, and give your teeth the love and care they deserve.