Old Toothbrush with frayed bristles

The best way to maintain a child’s oral health is to make sure they brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once. But all these efforts will be in vain if your child is brushing with an old toothbrush. A variety of dental problems can arise from overusing a toothbrush or using the wrong type.

Studies have shown a new toothbrush removes more plaque than one that’s worn out. By replacing toothbrushes regularly, you can be assured that your child’s toothbrush is working its hardest to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Below are some tips to help you determine whether it’s time for a toothbrush replacement.

Frayed and Worn Bristles

If the bristles on your child’s toothbrush are frayed or worn, then they won’t be reaching all the parts of their mouth that need cleaning, especially the little cracks and crevices that accumulate the most plaque.

Once the bristles on a toothbrush are no longer facing the same direction, it’s time for a change. If this is happening regularly in less than 3 months, it may be a sign your child is brushing too hard, which can remove the enamel on their teeth.

Faded Colour

Some toothbrushes have bristles that have a bit of colour or a marking on them. When this colour fades or disappears altogether, it’s often a good sign that the toothbrush needs to be replaced.

After Illness

Many dentists recommend replacing a toothbrush after an illness, particularly a cold, flu, mouth infection or a sore throat. Germs can hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to re-infection.

That being said, bacteria in the mouth can’t survive for long in a dry environment, meaning most germs on the bristles should die between uses. Replacing a toothbrush after sickness is more of a precaution.


If the above signs are not apparent, you should always stick to the recommendation of most dentists and replace toothbrushes every three months. This is both to ensure your child’s toothbrush has strong bristles and to avoid the possibility of fungus and bacteria developing.

Your child should have a toothbrush with soft bristles of different heights. This will work best to clean their teeth and gums. If everyone in the family stores their toothbrushes in the same place, make sure the brushes don’t touch and never share toothbrushes. Keep one toothbrush for each family member.

Always make sure you child keeps their toothbrush clean by rinsing it with tap water when they finish and storing it upright in an open container to air-dry.

Regular Visits to the Dentist

No matter how well you look after your child’s toothbrush, everyone needs to visit the dentist at least once every six months. Regular visits to the dentist help your child develop and maintain good oral hygiene habits while allowing your dentist to address any problems early.

If you need a friendly and experienced dentist for your children in Adelaide, book an appointment with City Central Dental. We provide a relaxing atmosphere for your child’s dental visits and offer gap-free checkups for school aged children. Get in touch today by calling 08 8231 9922 or contact us online.