September 18, 2014
By: Dr. Colin Richman
A recent study published in the Journal of Periodontics under the titled “Influence of the Utilization Time of Different Manual Toothbrushes on Oral Hygiene Assessed During a 6 Month Observation” attempted to answer this question. The objective of the study was to investigate whether 6 months of continuous use of various manual toothbrushes influenced the efficiency of the instrument compared with toothbrushes changed every 4 weeks. Participants on the unchanged 6 month study experienced increasing gingival (gum) inflammation, bleeding, tenderness and swelling as the toothbrushes aged. On the other hand, subjects in the test group changing their brushes every 4 weeks did not experience these symptoms.
The bottom-line of this study clearly suggests that the lifespan of a toothbrush is limited and toothbrushes need to be changed on a frequent basis. A similar study has not been conducted for electric toothbrushes.
Our office guidelines suggest that as soon as bristles start to fray and splay, the brush should be changed. In other words, a manual handheld toothbrush should be changed every 4 weeks, Electric toothbrush heads should be changed at the first signs of wear.
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