Dental caries are holes on the tooth surfaces caused by acid damage that is the result of the enamel coming into contact with bacterial excretions. These bacteria are quite able to live and proliferate on the bristles of a toothbrush, regardless of the fact that toothpaste kills bacteria. This is because the bacteria that cause dental caries do so with a very interesting mechanism, namely, the formation of dental plaque and tartar. This is a calcified plaque layer that is resistant to attacks from the outside, and is the habitat that the bacteria live in.
How often should I change my toothbrush?
You should change your toothbrush around once every 2 or 3 months, because by this time there is a very high possibility that the bristles will contain bacterial cultures on them. The longer you have it, the more likely that this is the case. The bristles also start to become less effective because they bend out of shape and become less effective at removing the plaque that sticks to the tooth surfaces. This also contributes to more dental caries, as the cause of the dental caries is the plaque and tartar layer, and the bacteria they contain.
Cleaning the toothbrush
Although you can soak your toothbrush overnight in different antibacterial liquids, and you can find ones that are also safe for your teeth and gums, the bristles will still be more easily colonised, as they have been colonised before and the plaque will have an easier time sticking to them. This means that although the bacteria that cause dental caries are removed, they will be back soon enough. This also coupled with the fact that bacteria are super resistant and can survive almost anything (coupled with the fact that the bristles will become less and less effective each time you brush) means that your best course of action is to get a new toothbrush.
What kind of toothbrush is best?
Use soft bristled toothbrushes, as hard bristles will damage your gums and can even scrape your tooth enamel. Make sure you have one that can bend and flex and is not rigid, as these are better at reaching the hard to reach places that food detritus, and the bacteria that live off of them and cause dental caries like to be. For maximum effectiveness, don’t forget to floss and use mouthwash, too!