When To Change Your Toothbrush or Brush Head

When To Change Your Toothbrush or Brush Head

Ali Fadakar -

You've grabbed yourself a new electric toothbrush with all the bells and whistles – a two-minute timer, a head that can reach all the tough-to-see spots in between and around your teeth, and more. Great job!

But getting a great toothbrush is just the start of long-term dental health. You can’t just buy one toothbrush or brush head and be set for life. In truth, you have to regularly change your manual toothbrush or replace your electric toothbrush head if you want to keep cavities at bay.

Fortunately, you don’t need to replace your brush or brush head all that often. Three months or so seems to be the ideal timeframe for a single brush or brush head. Let’s take a closer look at how often and why you should change your toothbrush from time to time.

How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush or Brush Head?

In general, it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush or, in the case of an electric toothbrush, your toothbrush head, every three months by default. It takes around three months for the bristles of a regular toothbrush to start fraying and bending, which minimizes their effectiveness and prevents them from scraping away plaque and bacteria as well as before.

Alternatively, you should replace your toothbrush or brush head whenever you notice the bristles are fraying or losing their effectiveness. Check your toothbrush every once in a while before the three-month mark so you are never surprised.

Of course, when it’s time to change your toothbrush or brush head, it’s a great time to give yourself an upgrade. If you’re using a regular toothbrush right now, consider switching to a more advanced Supersmile brush.

After all, our brush’s bristles are designed with a patented 45° angle, allowing the bristles to reach below your gum line and remove much more plaque and bacteria. Best of all, you can pick up replacement brush heads for one of our electric toothbrushes right from our online store, so you never have to go without fresh bristles.

What Are the Signs That I Should Change My Toothbrush or Brush Head?

Not sure whether your toothbrush or brush head needs to be replaced before three months? You can check for these specific signs so you know when it’s time to pick up some replacements.

Worn Bristles

You’ll be able to tell that your brush or brush head’s bristles are worn down from their shape and texture. Normal, effective toothbrush bristles should be straight and pointy without being too sharp or stiff.

Worn bristles will bend far too easily under a little pressure and may be fraying at the ends, splitting into multiple smaller bristles that are not nearly as effective at scraping away plaque.

You’ve Been Sick

If you come down with a cold or the flu, you should also replace your brush head ASAP. That's because germs from your current sickness will stay on your toothbrush head for potentially weeks after you have overcome the illness.

The last thing your immune system needs is you shoving germs back into your mouth from an old toothbrush head. Get a new head before you recover from your sickness and start using it after you have gotten better to keep your dental routine clean and safe.

You’ve Been Using a Travel Container

Ever wondered why toothbrush travel containers – whether they hold the entire brush or just the head – have small holes around them? Those holes allow airflow, which prevents the interior environment from becoming warm and moist: an ideal place for bacteria to thrive.

If you end up using a travel container for your brush that doesn't have these air holes, you should get a new brush head ASAP. Odds are bacteria have been breeding in the interim, flourishing in the warm and moist environment provided by the closed travel container.

Your Teeth Don’t Feel Clean

After every thorough brushing session, you should investigate your teeth with your eyes and your tongue. If your teeth don’t look and feel clean, maybe your toothbrush head needs to be replaced with a fresh version.

However, double-check your technique. In many cases, your teeth may not feel clean since you aren't cleaning well enough below the gum line where the area between the gum and the tooth, called the sulcus.

Your Brush Smells

If you reach for your toothbrush in the morning or before bed and notice a rank smell right off the bat, your brush head might be infested with bacteria. The last thing you want to do is put that brush in your mouth, as all you’ll do is spread the bacteria around and put it on your teeth instead.

Remember, you need to wash your toothbrush head thoroughly and regularly. Wash your toothbrush head every time you use it with soap and water. If you fail to do this after a few times, err on the side of caution and get yourself a new toothbrush head.

You Can’t Remember Your Last Replacement

We all lose track of time once in a while – it happens! But if you genuinely can’t remember the last time you replaced your toothbrush head, chances are it’s been longer than three months. Get yourself a replacement since you are more than likely overdue for a change.

Why Do I Need To Change My Toothbrush or Brush Head?

We’ve talked a lot about how you can tell when you need to change your brush or brush head. But why is this necessary in the first place? Turns out, it’s for lots of reasons!

Prevents Bacteria Buildup

For one, changing your toothbrush head regularly will prevent bacteria from building up on your toothbrush. Bacteria that build up on your brush can eventually transfer to your teeth's enamel.

Even in the best of cases, bacteria from your teeth's enamel will transfer to the brush head sit there, no matter how well you clean the brush head over time. Eventually, it becomes safer and more hygienic to get a new brush head to prevent bacteria from transferring between your mouth and brush over and over.

Protects Gums

For another, getting a new toothbrush head can protect your gums. Your gums require regular stimulation by firm bristles to maintain blood flow and overall health.

Your toothbrushing won’t really protect your gums unless the bristles can get slightly underneath the gum line and clear away plaque that can collect there. Bendy, fraying bristles do a bad job of maintaining gum health and may place you at a higher risk for gingivitis.

Gets Rid of Germs

Getting a new toothbrush head from time to time also helps you to get rid of more germs than otherwise. Your entire tooth brushing area will be cleaner since you won’t be using the same toothbrush head riddled with germs, which can spread to nearby countertops and other hygiene tools.

Worn Bristles Don’t Clean

The biggest reason to change your toothbrush head overall is because worn and fraying bristles don’t clean your teeth as well as they should. Given enough time, the bristles will become so weak that they want to do a good enough job to maintain dental health.

What Happens If I Don’t Change My Toothbrush or Brush Head

If you wait for too long and don’t change your toothbrush or brush head, you might see a number of negative side effects since your dental care quality will drop.

Gum Damage

For example, you might see more regular gum damage and inflammation. Bacteria and plaque will spread from the teeth to the gums more easily since you won’t be cleaning the gum line as well as you would be with a fresh brush head.

Tooth Loss

Given enough time, bacteria can produce enough acid that they chew their way into your teeth, eventually leading to tooth rotting and tooth loss.


General dental infections are another potential consequence if you don’t regularly replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head. These become more likely the longer you use the same brush head.

Tooth Decay

Even in the best-case scenario, you're likely to see at least a little tooth decay in the form of mild cavities or enamel demineralization. This can eventually progress to rotten teeth and full-on tooth loss.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, waiting too long to change your toothbrush or brush head will negatively affect your brushing technique and results. Over time, your dental health will suffer and you’ll start to see more tooth and gum sensitivity. Even cavities may crop up more regularly.

Good news, though – you can always find replacement brushes and brush heads these days, even if you have an advanced electric toothbrush like the Zina45 Sonic Pulse.

Interested in what this brush can do for you? You should be! It’s designed for maximum comfort and efficiency. Pair it with Supersmile’s toothpaste – fortified with a proprietary, cleaning/whitening compound called Calprox – and you’ll have a great dental hygiene routine ready to go.

Check out the rest of our offerings as well whenever you need brush heads, floss, toothpaste, and more!