Side-by-side of new and used toothbrushes.

Knowing When & How Often You Should Change Your Toothbrush

Picture this: You go to brush your teeth before heading out for work in the morning, only to discover that the bristles on your toothbrush have become increasingly frayed. To your dismay, you also encounter a rather unseemly smell when you pull the toothbrush out of your storage container.

Brushing your teeth every day is a necessity. But brushing with the same toothbrush every day for years on end? That’s a no-go. The exercise of brushing helps to clean your teeth and gums, but you cannot accomplish that task if your toothbrush is worn out and can no longer function.

Rather than being complacent, read on to learn about how often to change your toothbrush and replace toothbrush heads. We’ll talk about the different timelines when it comes to changing an electric or manual toothbrush and discuss how long toothbrushes typically last so you can anticipate when you may need to buy a new one!

Do Toothbrushes Expire?

Although toothbrushes don’t expire, they become essentially useless after a certain amount of time. Frayed or bent bristles will prevent your toothbrush from doing its job to help clean your teeth and gums.

It should be noted that unopened manual or electric toothbrushes do not expire*. Even if you’ve had the same package sitting in your bathroom for years, that toothbrush may make for a feasible (and necessary) replacement!

*Note – If electronic toothbrushes sit in storage for a long period of time with the same battery, then there is potential for battery corrosion to occur. Battery corrosion may damage the brush’s internal componentry.

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you should replace your manual toothbrush every 3-4 months, and sooner if the bristles wear down or look frayed. Toothbrush bristles lose effectiveness over time. You may also have bacterial growth if you don’t take proper care of the toothbrush.

You don’t necessarily have to buy a new electric toothbrush this frequently. But you will have to replace the heads and change the batteries. Regardless, whether you have an electric or manual toothbrush, the most important thing is to keep an eye on the bristles and change your toothbrush whenever those bristles have grown worn.

How Often to Change Your Electric Toothbrush Head

Just as you should replace a manual toothbrush every 3-4 months, you should also change the head on your electric toothbrush head every 3-4 months. This timeline holds whether you have a battery-powered or rechargeable electric toothbrush.

Some electric toothbrushes come with replacement heads. Spinbrush™ PRO CLEAN and Spinbrush™ PRO WHITEN, for example, have replacement brush heads and Color-Wear™ bristles specifically designed to fade with use as a reminder you should replace your electric toothbrush head every three months. If you don’t change out the toothbrush head, you risk not getting the proper teeth cleaning you need.

Not sure how to replace your Spinbrush™ electric toothbrush head? It’s easy! See the step-by-step process below:

Lastly, don’t forget about the batteries! If you and your kids brush twice per day for two minutes at a time, the batteries should last around four to six weeks. You may need a replacement if water leaks into the battery area.

6 Signs You Need to Replace Your Toothbrush or Toothbrush Head

Are your bristles looking worn or misshapen? Not sure whether your travel toothbrush is doing its job? When in doubt, you should replace your toothbrush or head for some of the following reasons:

1. Frayed, Torn or Worn Toothbrush Bristles

This is the most obvious sign you need a new toothbrush. The bristles on your toothbrush help to remove plaque and clean food particles from your teeth and gums. If those bristles are frayed or torn, they lose their effectiveness in providing a thorough clean.

So, keep an eye on those bristles. You should brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush to help protect your enamel and gently whiten your teeth. Additionally, be aware that especially worn bristles may suggest you have been brushing your teeth too hard.

2. Your Teeth Feel Weird

Plaque and bacteria can make your teeth feel rough or provide other sensations. While these sensations might indicate you may have a cavity or sensitive teeth, you should also consider replacing your toothbrush, as it may have lost the capacity to properly do its job.

3. The Toothbrush or Head is Smelly

If your toothbrush or toothbrush head suddenly smells bad, you may have excess bacteria or even mold growth. Since these growths can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, you’ll want to get a new toothbrush or replace the head immediately.

4. You’ve Been Sick

You still need to brush your teeth daily even when you’re sick. But you should probably swap out the toothbrush or head afterward because they’ve been exposed to those germs in your mouth. It’s not a requirement, but it’s probably a smart move, and it might be a good excuse if you realize you haven’t replaced your toothbrush in a while!

5. The Head Touched Someone Else’s Toothbrush

Say you’re packed into a vacation home with a bunch of friends and have limited counter space, so you need to stack toiletries and toothbrushes next to each other. Or your kids are on a school camping trip and sharing a bathroom with numerous other children. Your toothbrush or your kid’s toothbrush may touch another person’s toothbrush head. If this is the case, you should get a replacement.

Foreign bacteria from other toothbrushes that are then introduced into your mouth might cause illness. Similarly, if a toothbrush or toothbrush head falls on the floor, it’s probably time for a change considering all the dirt and debris that can reside on those surfaces.

6. You Keep the Toothbrush Enclosed or in a Travel Container

It’s essential to travel with a toothbrush and keep those chompers clean when you’re on the go or headed off for a family vacation. Travel containers and toiletry bags can help keep things organized for you and your kids. But if you’re someone who uses a travel container as a consistent storage space or your child forgets to take their toothbrush out after you all return, you should consider getting a new one.

The toothbrush head needs to dry out between uses. If you immediately put it into an enclosed space, any extra water could pool at the bristles and potentially result in bacteria growth. That’s also why it’s a good idea to find a storage item that allows you to place your toothbrush upright rather than flat.

Young couple brushing their teeth together in front of a mirror.

Is it Okay to Share a Toothbrush?

You should not share a toothbrush with another person. According to the ADA, sharing a toothbrush could lead to “an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms between people.” Those microorganisms might include germs that cause illness and gum disease.

Spinbrush™ Toothbrushes Remind You to Replace Your Toothbrush for a Better Clean!

What’s better than a toothbrush that encourages healthy brushing habits? The Spinbrush™ PRO line includes replacement heads so you can easily change out the old for the new whenever necessary. Plus, the Color-Wear™ bristles on Spinbrush™ PRO CLEAN and Spinbrush™ PRO WHITEN have fading technology that reminds you to replace the toothbrush head every three months!

These electric toothbrushes also deliver a fresh and clean feeling while effectively removing plaque for healthier teeth:

*when used with regular toothpaste

Spinbrush™ has plenty of options for your kids, too! They can enjoy brushes featuring characters from Paw Patrol™, Spider-Man™, Super Mario™, and more. You can also help to nurture their brushing techniques with the Spinbrush™ Smart Clean™ Glow in the Dark Toothbrush, which has a built-in timer and pacer to guide kids through the process of brushing.

Need to change or replace your old toothbrush? Try a Spinbrush™ electric toothbrush and, while you’re at it, buy more for the whole family!