How often should you change your toothbrush? 5 signs it's time to replace yours

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·5-min read
Be honest, can you remember when you last changed your toothbrush head? (Stock, Getty Images)
Be honest, can you remember when you last changed your toothbrush head? (Getty Images)

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Toothbrushes are amongst the most used items in our bathroom, so if you want to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, you'll want to ensure yours stays in tip top condition.

As a general rule, dentists advise changing your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head four times a year. But, let's be honest, with busy lives who can actually remember when they last changed their toothbrush head?

"If you find you can’t remember when you last replaced your brush, it’s probably time to get a new one," says Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of The Oral Health Foundation.

"You should aim to change your toothbrush every three months to make sure you’re getting a more effective clean.

"This is because over time the bristles will begin to splay or change shape and as a result become less efficient at removing plaque.

"Bacteria from your mouth and bathroom can build up on your toothbrush over time, so as well as replacing it every three months you should be rinsing your toothbrush after each use, allow it to dry between uses and avoid sharing a toothbrush with other people in your household."

What are the signs that mean your toothbrush needs replacing?

Three months is the general rule, but there are circumstances when you may need to replace your toothbrush sooner. Dr Carter advises watching out for the following signs that it's time to retire your current brush:

  1. Bristles that are splayed, bent, unusually stiff, or otherwise worn.

  2. A bad smelling brush.

  3. Your teeth still feel fuzzy or unclean after brushing.

  4. After an illness like a cold or flu.

  5. If you drop your toothbrush on the floor or in the toilet the best thing to do is to replace it regardless of how long you’ve had it.

World Oral Health Day falls on Sunday 20th March and this year's theme is "Be Proud of Your Mouth", so the organisers are encouraging people to value and take care of their oral health and to make the right decisions to protect it.

If you're looking for a new electric toothbrush, we've rounded up some of the top-rated models currently available on Amazon and Boots – and the good news is many are currently reduced in price.

5 top-rated electric toothbrushes

1. Oral-B Pro 2500 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush | £31.99 ( Was £79.99) at Amazon

Replacement Heads | £9.25 for four at Amazon

Oral-B Pro 2500 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush (Oral B)
Oral-B Pro 2500 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush (Oral B)

£31.99 £79.99 at Amazon

This is a bestseller on Amazon with more than 42,000 reviews rating it five out five stars. It has a round toothbrush head that oscillates, rotates and pulsates, to gently whiten your teeth by removing surface stains and plaque. There are two cleaning modes to choose from: daily clean and gum care. Plus, it also features a visible pressure sensor, which reduces brushing speed and alerts you if you brush too hard.

2. Oral B iO9™ Electric Toothbrush White Alabaster | £235 (was £499.99) at Amazon

Replacement Heads | Four for £26.99 at Amazon

Oral-B iO9 Electric Toothbrush White Alabaster (Oral-B)
Oral-B iO9 Electric Toothbrush White Alabaster (Oral-B)

£235 £499.99 at Amazon

If you're after a high tech model, then this is a good choice as it is one of the top-rated toothbrushes on Boots, where it has received almost entirely five star reviews. The iO9 has also gained more than 1,000 five star reviews on Amazon. It uses A.I to monitor your brushing across the front, top and back surfaces of your teeth and allows you to choose from one of seven modes: Daily Clean, Sensitive, Gum Care, Intense Clean, Whitening, Tongue Cleaner, Super Sensitive. There is also a colour display that will alert you when the head needs replacing and signals if you're brushing too hard.

3. Ordo Sonic+ Toothbrush Charcoal Grey | £49.99 at Boots

Replacement Heads | £18 for four at Boots

Ordo Sonic+ Toothbrush Charcoal Grey (Ordo)
Ordo Sonic+ Toothbrush Charcoal Grey (Ordo)

£49.99 at Boots

A relative newcomer on the market, Ordo brushes have so far received a majority of five star reviews on Boots. With a choice of four brushing modes, (Clean, White, Massage and Sensitive), the brush utilises sonic pulse technology to clean the surfaces of the teeth and deep between them.

One happy customer wrote in a review: "This brush is superb! I’m a dental nurse and bought one for me and my son. I use a disclosing tablet afterwards and there is hardly any plaque that shows up afterwards, meaning the brush has done a great job! Would recommend , battery lasts three weeks using two times a day and the modes are great."

Also available in rose gold or white, plus, Ordo offers a replacement head subscription service, which means you won't have to worry about forgetting to order new heads in time.

4. Oral-B Pro 2 Electric Toothbrush with Smart Pressure Sensor | £49.99 (Was £119.99) at Amazon

Replacement Heads | £9.25 for four at Amazon

Oral-B Pro 2 Electric Toothbrush with Smart Pressure Sensor |Oral-B)
Oral-B Pro 2 Electric Toothbrush with Smart Pressure Sensor |Oral-B)

£49.99 £119.99 at Amazon

Great for couples or housemates who don't want to mix up their electric brushes, this duo set has more than 9,500 five star reviews on Amazon. Both brushes feature two minute timers and pressure sensors that alert you if you brush too hard. Plus, with two brushing modes (daily care and gum care) they promise to gently whiten your teeth starting from the very first use by removing surface stains.

5. Brush-Baby BabySonic Kids Electric Toothbrush | £11.99 at Amazon

Replacement Heads | £14.92 for four at Amazon

£11.99 at Amazon

With more than 4,000 five star reviews on Amazon, this mini electric toothbrush is designed for use on children aged 0 to 36 months, from the moment they get their first tooth. Small and light with soft bristles and a gently vibrating brush head designed to be gentle on new baby teeth and teething gums, it features a two minute timer and an LED light, which will help you to see your child's teeth. Plus, the BabySonic is waterproof, so can be used in the bath.

Brush-Baby also do highly rated toothbrushes for older children too, including a cute elephant handled one for £29.99.