Many parents don’t pay much attention to their child’s toothbrush and thinking about replacing it. Well, this is typical and we don’t think about it too often. We simply forget.
We’re busy, the children are busy and even though we easily spot when they need new shoes, a new jacket etc. we barely notice that there’s need for a toothbrush replacement. It’s our responsibility as parents.
How long should your child use one toothbrush?
Most toothbrushes are made from plastic and even though they might look fine after a while (look like brand new) they are definitely not meant to be used for a very long time! With use, the bristles on toothbrushes wear and get damaged and the toothbrush becomes less effective in cleaning your teeth.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should replace your toothbrushes every three of four months. Aside from this guideline, there are also telltale signs when it’s time to replace your children’s toothbrushes.
Bristles need to be examined
The first thing you can (and should to) is look at the bristles on your children’s toothbrush. If they look frayed or maybe matted, it’s time for a new toothbrush. Also, the bristles should stand straight because that’s when they are most effective.
Once you examined the bristles, you should also take a look at the bottoms, at the base of the toothbrush. If you see some debris that is still there even after you wash the brush under running water, then it’s time for a new toothbrush.
Your child’s health
According to some research, tooth brushes can host millions of bacteria every day such as E. Coli, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus etc. And if that’s not enough, some researchers also found fecal germs too. Well that’s just gross!
The truth is that your mouth is a germy place. If your children have been sick, it’s even worse.
No matter if you got the tooth brush recently OR it doesn’t show any signs of wear and tear…but if your child has been sick recently, make sure that you replace the toothbrush immediately. The old toothbrush is now housing all the germs and bacteria the child had when he/she was sick and you won’t want those ‘back in’ again.
You should get your child a new toothbrush if he/she was ill from the following:
- Cold or flu
- Throat or mouth infection
- Sore throat or strep diagnosis
- Mouth sores, fever blisters or canker sores
In case your child is sharing a bathroom with other members of your family (and the mostly do), it’s highly likely that the germs from one toothbrush can be transferred to another.
When was the last time you replaced the toothbrush?
If you can’t recall when was the last time you replaced the toothbrushes in your house, it’s probably time. You don’t need to feel bad about it. It happens to everyone. It’s not on top of our priority list and we tend to forget about it.
In order to help you not forget to replace toothbrushes, set up an alert on your calendar using some of the many smartphone applications. Even better, you can give that responsibility to your child so he/she can remind you. This will teach him/her responsibility of good oral hygiene!