How Often Should I Replace Your Toothbrush?

It is important to replace your toothbrush at least four times per year. Brushing of the teeth involves direct contact with your teeth, gums, and mucous membranes. It is more personal than most people would admit. After some time, toothbrushes tend to accumulate dust, dirt, and microbes.

The microbes contained in it can provoke infection, mouth diseases and can penetrate further into the body, causing a decline in health. Toothbrushes lose not only their original appearance with use, but they also collect microbes from the mouth and the environment.

These microbes begin to multiply after some time. Although the increase is not severe in the first few weeks, they pose a considerable health risk when too many are present after a few months.

What Should Make You Replace Your Toothbrush?

Aside from the fact that bristles lose functional qualities with use, allowing dirt to pass through, and doing a poor job at cleaning the teeth. It is best to replace a toothbrush in the following situations:

  • After suffering infectious diseases (flu, herpes, ARVI), pathogenic bacteria remain on the toothbrush even if you have completely recovered, which can provoke re-infection.
  • When the color of the bristles changes – if it has darkened, turned yellow, covered with spots.
  • The appearance of build-up on the surface or at the base of the bristles.
  • With severe wear, if the bristles are loose – sticking out in different directions, frayed short fibers cannot remove dirt efficiently, there will be no benefit from such cleaning. Worn-out bristles can damage the soft tissue of the gums, causing inflammation.
  • When the brush falls on the floor or somewhere else – even if you immediately picked it up and thoroughly washed it with hot water or treated it with a disinfectant. Changing your toothbrush is the safest option for you.
  • When mold appears. The bathroom is a favorable humid environment for fungi, microbes. No matter how well you keep your toothbrush, mold will always find a way to get in.

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

Most dentists and oral hygiene manufacturers say that you should replace a toothbrush every 12-16 weeks. That is approximately three months. If you brush more than twice a day, your brush will get worn out faster, and you’ll need to change it early.

How Often Should Adult Toothbrush Be Changed?

The average lifespan of a toothbrush is three and a half months. The 3-month replacement recommendation applies for all adult toothbrushes used for routine cleaning twice a day and with proper tool care.

How Often Should a Child’s Toothbrush Be Changed?

Children’s toothbrushes should be changed more frequently than adults’ because toddlers chew on the handle or pinch the head between their teeth. This reduces the toothbrush’s effectiveness over time.

How Often Should Electric Toothbrush Heads Be Changed?

The tips wear even faster as the nylon bristles are shorter than conventional models and rotate. The heads should be changed every two months, at least.

According to the Type of Bristles

The exact time to change your toothbrush also depends on the type of material the bristles are made of:

  • Bamboo bristle toothbrushes should be changed every two months. Pathogenic bacteria accumulate on it faster than other bristle types.
  • Natural bristles – microbes multiply more actively on natural materials. The bristles themselves are softer, wear out faster, and must be replaced every three months.
  • Nozzles for electric brushes are made of durable, dense materials. They need to be changed every 4-5 months.

There are circumstances in which you should discard your old brush sooner:

  • If you or a member of your family get sick, especially in the case of viral and bacterial infections.
  • If someone mistakenly uses your toothbrush: someone else’s microflora negatively affects the state of the oral cavity.
  • If the brush is initially of poor quality and looks worn out prematurely.

Why It Is Important to Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly

New toothbrushes are optimal for permanent dental care and effectively prevent tooth decay, plaque, and bad breath. They are better at removing food particles and bacteria that have accumulated along the gum line.

If you brush your teeth with an old brush, over time, you may encounter the following problems:

  • Diseases of the mucous membrane. Cavities form on the villi, in which microbes accumulate. As a result, they get on the mucous membrane during cleaning, leading to stomatitis and other diseases.
  • Cavities. Damaged bristles are less effective at removing plaque from teeth.
  • Injury to the mucous membrane due to deformation of the villi.

The fact that the service life has ended is indicated by damage to the pile, discoloration of the bristles, and just time. Using a used instrument leads to oral health problems.

What Happens if You Don’t Get a Replacement

Over time, the bristles of your toothbrush will weaken and begin to bend and curl in different directions. The expansion of the bristles affects their ability to remove plaque effectively. As a result, it accumulates, which leads to diseases of the teeth and gums.

While the temptation to extend the life of your toothbrush is great, you shouldn’t. Using it for too long will lead to serious troubles:

  • Infection of soft tissues.
  • Inflammation of the gum tissue.
  • Uncomfortable/painful natural sensations when cleaning.
  • Microtrauma of the oral cavity.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • The development of gingivitis, caries, periodontal disease, and other diseases.
  • The development of systemic infections.
  • The formation of dental plaque, calculus.
  • Bad breath.

You should replace your toothbrush at least every three to four months. These tiny tools perform the essential task of keeping your teeth healthy.

Since the inception of Pitner Orthodontics, Dr. Leslie Pitner has helped several patients achieve a smile they are proud of. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit any of our offices. You can also take advantage of our free virtual consultation.

Avoid Stained Teeth from Braces

One of the hazards they forget to warn you about is that you can sometimes get stained teeth from braces. Although this is a fairly common issue, it doesn’t receive much air time. If you notice staining on your braces, there are steps you can take to correct or lessen the problem.

Why Do I Have Stained Teeth from Braces?

When you have brackets and wires on your teeth, brushing is naturally more difficult. As a result, you may experience plaque buildup. This is a substance that sticks to your teeth as a result of eating or drinking. Since you can’t avoid eating or drinking, you need a little extra diligence to combat the plaque.

If left untended, plaque will harden, turning into tartar. Tartar often has a brown or yellow coloration and can cause demineralization. If left untreated, demineralization can affect the enamel on teeth and cause cavities. Sugary food accelerates the process, which is why oral hygiene is so important while wearing braces.

Preventing Stains While Wearing Braces

Aside from brushing and flossing, which we will discuss shortly, there are a few things you can do to prevent or limit staining while wearing braces.

Rinsing with plain water regularly throughout the day, but especially after eating or drinking is the first line of defense. Whether you have a soda, coffee, or other beverage, swishing a little plain water will help flush remaining sugars and loose food particles. This is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. It is merely a step that will help.

When you had your braces put on, you should have received a list of foods to avoid or limit. While many of the items on the list are there to avoid damaging your braces, some are there because they stick to braces and teeth and may cause problems. Among the things to avoid are sticky, sugary, starchy, and chewy foods. You should also avoid hard candy, fruits, and veggies.

Brush up on Your Oral Hygiene

Stained Teeth From Braces

Don’t neglect your regular dental checkups. Your dentist and their staff know how to clean around your appliances. It is important, especially with braces, to maintain optimum oral hygiene. With that said, another reminder about your daily oral hygiene is coming up.

Proper Brushing

While wearing braces, you should try to brush after every meal. We know that isn’t always possible. If you are unable to brush, you should get into the habit of rinsing with plain water. This will remove loose food particles and provide some assistance until you can brush properly.

Use a soft-bristle brush and a non-whitening toothpaste with your braces. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle from your gumline. Using back and forth strokes, brush the areas above, below, and over your brackets and wires. Use small circular motions over each bracket to remove stubborn food particles. Be sure to rinse and spit out the toothpaste.

Interdental/Interproximal Brushes

These tiny brushes are invaluable while wearing braces. They are tiny enough to fit under your wires and allow you to clean well along the edges of your brackets.

Interdental brushes are not a substitute for flossing.

Flossing for the Win

Flossing with braces can be tricky at first. Once you learn the technique, you’ll be able to breeze through regular flossing easily. You should floss at least once daily. Using a floss threader will help guide the floss around your wires so that you can reach the gum line around each tooth.

 

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Flossing removes more plaque buildup than just brushing. It is an important part of your oral care routine that should not be neglected.

The Hazards of Whitening Toothpastes

We briefly mentioned that you should not use whitening toothpaste while wearing braces. The reason is that it will whiten your teeth. Unfortunately, the whitening agents won’t reach the area where your brackets are affixed. When you have your braces removed, you will likely have small squares of discolored teeth.

To avoid that, simply switch to an ADA-approved, fluoride toothpaste without whitening agents during your treatment.

When the Braces Come Off

When your braces are removed, you will likely get a little shock at the appearance of your teeth. They will be straight and you’ll have a beautiful smile, but you may see some discoloration from the braces.

If you have been doing your part with proper brushing and flossing and keeping your regular dental checkup schedule, you may not have much staining. Because there are so many little nooks and crannies with braces, missing a spot or two is quite normal.

You can use teeth whitening methods to remove the staining and return your smile to pristine whiteness.

Teeth Whitening After Braces

Teeth whitening can be accomplished in several ways once your braces are removed. There are inexpensive, in-home methods such as strips and trays. You can opt for a dentist-supplied in-home tray kit, which is a bit stronger than the over-the-counter versions. Although a bit more costly, an in-office procedure is the quickest way to brighten your smile.

If you are interested in tooth whitening procedures, discuss them with your dentist or orthodontist. They may have recommendations that will help.

Skip Stained Teeth from Braces with Invisalign

If all of this just sounds like too much hassle, even to get a perfect smile, there is an alternative. Braces treatment with Invisalign clear aligners. No brackets. No wires. No dietary restrictions. No need to learn new brushing and flossing techniques.

Invisalign is a system of clear tray aligners that work to straighten your smile using gentle pressure to move teeth into alignment. Patients wear the trays for 20 to 22 hours each day. The trays are removable for oral hygiene, drinking, and eating. While oral hygiene is still a prime component of Invisalign treatment, it is much easier than with traditional braces.

Because there are no wires and brackets, Invisalign is a more comfortable treatment method. The trays are nearly invisible, so patients can continue their normal busy routine and most people won’t even realize they have braces!

Ready to Get Your Smile Looking Pristine?

Pitner Orthodontics is a Diamond+ Invisalign provider. That means they are in the top one percent of all providers! Dr. Leslie Pitner and her team are ready to help you discover your perfect smile. Simply begin with a Virtual Consultation or make an appointment at one of their three convenient locations. Your initial consultation is complimentary too. That is a $249 savings!

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Can Smiling Reduce Stress?

If you have ever wondered, “Can smiling reduce stress?” the answer is yes. Through scientific research studies and health evaluations, smiling has a great effect on reducing stress. Not only that but there are additional results that suggest smiling can have beneficial effects on your overall health. Are you ready to get your smile on?

Stress Can Have a Negative Effect on Your Smile

Why do people frown? Normally, sadness can bring on a frown, or dissatisfaction, or something bad happening to ruin your day. Stress can also bring on a frown and affect your entire body. In a study of 2,412 participants published in 2016, it was found that psychological stress can contribute to oral health problems.

The study included socio-economic factors as well. Those with dental insurance coverage did fare better than those with the additional worry of how to pay the bills. The study also concluded that stress can contribute to other chronic health conditions including:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Childhood obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Type II diabetes
  • Tobacco and drug use
  • Cancer

Among the oral problems linked directly to stress that can affect your smile are gum inflammation, teeth grinding (Bruxism), and dry mouth.

Gum Inflammation

Stress can be a direct cause of gum inflammation and periodontal disease in some people. Under stress, your body creates excess cortisol (an anti-inflammatory hormone). Cortisone released in the gums creates additional proteins which increase inflammation. This can progress to periodontal disease, pain, and have a negative impact on your smile.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism can be a response to anger, fear, and stress. This clenching is often done unconsciously and even during periods of sleep. Grinding can create many problems including:

  • Broken or damaged teeth
  • Jaw popping
  • Face pain
  • Headaches
  • Swelling
  • TMJ

As you can see, stress-related teeth grinding can result in many physical problems of the head, neck, and face.

 

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Dry Mouth

Extreme stress can cause increased acid reflux. Because acid slows down saliva production, it can result in a dry mouth. Without the necessary flushing of saliva, your mouth can become a haven for bad breath, bad tastes, and increase the prevalence of tooth decay. Having a dry mouth can affect your smile in a negative way.

The Science Behind Your Smile

To reclaim the happiness of our youth would be awesome. Children smile on average about 400 times every day. Adults smile much less. A happy adult may smile from 40 to 50 times per day, while a typical adult only manages about 20 smiles.

Smiles can open doors, make you more likable, and even increase your productivity at work! But how does that work? Your body is an amazing machine that works together on every level. One thing begins a chain reaction that keeps moving through your entire body.

In the case of smiling, when you smile your brain releases neuropeptides (little molecules) that fight off stress. Next come other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Serotonin is your body’s natural anti-depressant. Endorphins are natural pain relievers.

The release of the secret weapons in your brain can create a loop that includes the people around you too. When we see a person smile, our natural reaction is to return the smile. We’ve all heard the old adages about “A happy workplace is a productive workplace” and other cliches linked to smiling. Turns out they have a real basis in science! Happy workers are more productive and express more creativity.

Creating a Healthier You With a Smile

There are many different ways to increase your daily smile ratio and all of them will have a lasting impact on your overall health and well-being. Practicing your smile in the mirror each morning can start your day on a happy note. If you don’t like your smile, you can always seek orthodontic treatment to create the smile of your dreams. In the meantime, use the smile you have to brighten your day!

When you smile and laugh regularly you will begin to feel better. Laughter yoga, laugh therapy, and other methods to teach people the benefits of laughter are rekindling this natural healing mechanism. There are many other ways to get your smile back:

  • TV programs and funny movies
  • Theater and comedy shows at local clubs
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Look for things to laugh about throughout the day

Go to the zoo — the monkeys are always hilarious. Take a walk in a park near your home with a playground — the laughter of children is infectious. While we struggle behind our masks during the current pandemic, it may seem that no one is smiling, but that isn’t true. They may be hidden, but people are still smiling and you can too!

Benefits of Smiling and Laughing

We mentioned earlier that smiling can have beneficial health effects. In addition to relieving stress, smiling works miracles on your entire body. Smiling can also make you feel better about yourself. Among the benefits are:

  • Reduced pain
  • Less stress
  • Stronger immune system
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Greater endurance

Give it a try — smile into the mirror and see if your reflection smiles back at you.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It — Does It Work?

What if life is just so overwhelming that you can’t muster a real smile? The good news is that your brain can’t tell the difference between a real smile or a fake smile. When you smile, the movement of the muscles still creates the same release of happy juice from your brain (endorphins).

 

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What that means is that even when you “aren’t feeling it,” you can still use smiling to boost your level of happiness. While laughter and smiling are not a substitute for professional care if you need it, they can create at least a temporary boost.

If you are feeling stressed, try smiling or even laughing to combat it.

Can Smiling Reduce Stress? Try It and See!

If you don’t like your smile, contact Pitner Orthodontics to discuss how Invisalign® can give you the perfect smile you have always dreamed of.

Interested in reading more about smiles? Check out our blog series on The Science Behind Your Smile:

Dr. Duchenne’s Smile
A Smile is Universal
What Makes Babies Smile?
Does Smiling Create Happiness?
Can Just Smiling Make You Happy?

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Signs to Get a New Toothbrush Head

Knowing the telltale signs to get a new toothbrush head will keep your brushing habits on the upper tier. Using an old head on an electric toothbrush reduces the efficiency of your brushing. This may leave plaque or other debris on your teeth, causing decay or worse.

Physical Signs to Get a New Toothbrush Head

There are definitive physical signs that you should change your toothbrush head. Manufacturers will recommend that you change every three months with or without the physical signs of degradation. Some manufacturers also employ a color-changing system to let users know when to change. New heads have brightly colored bristles that fade over time. When the color is gone, it is time to change the head on your toothbrush.

Some of the telltale signs that are visible on your toothbrush head:

  • Frayed or worn bristles
  • Brushing seems less effective
  • Old toothpaste is “stuck” around the base of bristles

Although many people believe that manufacturers only recommend changing the toothbrush head to sell more products, it is more complicated than that. Bacteria develop over time. Even when you rinse or clean your brush regularly, bacteria are still present. It is also a fact that new bristles remove more plaque.

 

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This brings us to subscription services. There are several available through manufacturers and online retailers. They work on a fairly simple plan. Once you purchase your electric toothbrush, you enroll in a service. Every three months, they send you a new toothbrush head. When it arrives, you change it out. Simple and effective, computerized, and no burden on you other than paying the fee for the service and the cost for new heads.

Other Times It Is Good to Replace Your Toothbrush Head

Health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) have also weighed in on the great debate. They recommend that people replace toothbrushes and toothbrush heads every three to four months.

There are other circumstances when you should replace your toothbrush head early:

  • If someone else has used your brush
  • When a child (or frustrated adult) has chewed on it causing premature fraying
  • If it is dropped on the floor
  • After anyone has been ill, especially with things like strep throat

It is always better to err with caution in mind. To quote an over-used cliché, “Better safe than sorry.”

When You’re In Doubt — Just Change it Out

Toothbrushes and toothbrush heads are relatively inexpensive. There are times when you might use a brush for one month, and sometimes longer than the recommended four months. The bottom line is that if you are wondering if it is time for a new toothbrush head — it is.

If you have additional questions about the signs to get a new toothbrush head, please ask us at Pitner Orthodontics. Our knowledgeable staff is always eager to help!

If you are ready to explore different ways to perfect your smile, contact Pitner Ortho for a FREE Smile Assessment. This package, with a value of $249, will offer alternatives to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. We have three locations serving the Columbia, SC area, including one office dedicated to adults only!

Please visit our pages on Facebook and Instagram. Also, check out the great information on our orthodontic blog.

Invisalign in Newberry SC

If you need Invisalign in Newberry SC, look no further than Pitner Orthodontics. With two locations in Columbia and the third office in Chapin, Pitner offers Invisalign, affordability, and convenience. Let us show you why it is worth the drive!

Pitner Orthodontics — Invisalign in Newberry SC

Whether you live in Newberry and commute to Columbia for work, you will appreciate the Downtown Office. The only one of its kind, the Downtown office is dedicated to adults only. In fact, you likely drive right past our Chapin office frequently, too.

In the past, many patients were told that Invisalign was not right for them. Whether you have ever been given that sad news or not, we have great news for you now!

 

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Align Technology has been working continously to expand the efficacy of this unique, almost invisible tray alignment system. As a result of their innovative design improvements, Invisalign is able to handle almost all orthodontic problems from minor to complex.

Whether you are in for a first-time visit or to ask us for a second opinion, Pitner Orthodontics is ready to help.

South Carolina’s #1 Invisalign Provider

Dr. Leslie Pitner and Pitner Orthodontics have earned their reputation as South Carolina’s #1 Invisalign provider. Align Technology, the creators of Invisalign, use an 8-tier rating system for providers. Pitner holds a Diamond+ rating, which is in the top 1 percent of all providers.

Dr. Pitner makes it easy to get an evaluation to see if Invisalign treatment is right for you by offering a free initial consultation. This Smile Analysis includes digital x-rays and a complete examination. At a value of $249, this is only the beginning of your savings at Pitner Orthodontics.

How Invisalign Works

Beginning the Invisalign process is fairly easy. First, we make a 3D model of your teeth. The model allows Dr. Pitner to create a custom treatment plan for each patient. After your exam, we create a series of almost invisible alignment trays for you.

The trays are worn for 20 to 22 hours every day. Depending on your treatment schedule, you will switch to a new set of trays every week or two. The trays work by putting pressure against your teeth to shift them into the correct positions. As you switch through the tray sets, your teeth will gradually become straighter until they reach proper alignment.

Because Invisalign trays are removable there are no problems with oral hygiene or dietary restrictions. Patients remove the trays to eat, drink, and perform oral hygiene.

Three Locations Near Newberry

We have three locations near Newberry. The nearest office is our Chapin location on Old Bush River Rd. Our other locations are both in Columbia, one on Westcott Rd and the Downtown office on Main St. Whether you want Invisalign for yourself or are making an appointment for a child or teen, Pitner can help.

Making your first appointment is as easy as clicking on the “Book Your Free Consult” button, filling in some information, and submitting the form.

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Best Orthodontist in Columbia SC

When you are searching for the best orthodontist in Columbia, SC, Pitner Orthodontics will cover all your needs. Whether you are an adult seeking Invisalign treatment for yourself or a parent needing braces for a child, Dr. Leslie Pitner, and her dedicated staff will ensure you receive great treatment.

How to Find the Best Orthodontist in Columbia SC

When looking for a new orthodontist, you probably already have a list of requirements that include:

  • Family practice equipped for patients of all ages
  • More than one location
  • Experienced orthodontist and staff
  • Highly respected among peers
  • Offers more than one type of treatment

Although your list may have slightly different items, beginning with a list of what you want is a great place to start. Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry. While all orthodontists are also dentists, they complete an additional two to three years of education centering on orthodontics. A dentist is concerned with the overall care and condition of your teeth, while an orthodontist focuses on the structure of your jaw and the alignment of your teeth.

Pitner Orthodontics is Right for the Whole Family

Perhaps you are an adult seeking Invisalign or clear braces. Pitner Orthodontics has an office specifically for adult patients in downtown Columbia! That’s right — no dodging kids in the waiting room and worrying about a juice box squirting on you from across the room. Whatever your comfort zone, Dr. Pitner has created an environment to keep you at ease during treatment.

Likewise, Pitner Orthodontics has a second office in Columbia and another in Chapin that cater to family treatment. All three Pitner offices have highly-trained staff that will make your treatment as comfortable as possible.

Dr. Pitner is South Carolina’s number one Invisalign orthodontist. As a Diamond-Plus Invisalign provider, she is in the top one percent of all Invisalign providers! She has roots in the Chapin area, so she is also your neighbor. In fact, Dr. Pitner is eager to be your first choice for your family’s orthodontic care.

 

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As part of an introductory offer, she includes a complimentary consultation for all new patients. This comprehensive exam includes a complete smile analysis with digital x-rays. The overall value of the introductory package is $249!

Get a Jump Start on Your Perfect Smile

To schedule your free consultation, click on the button on our website that says “Book Your Free Consult.” Follow the prompts and fill in the necessary information, then submit the form. If you have additional questions you may call any of our offices and our staff will gladly assist you:

Columbia Office: (803) 859-4442
Chapin Office: (803) 859-4377
Downtown Columbia Office: (803) 859-4346 (Adult-only Office)

Whatever your orthodontic needs are, Pitner Orthodontics has earned its rating as the best orthodontist in Columbia, SC. With their generous free initial consultation, you can begin the journey to a new, straight, and healthy smile today!

For more information, visit our orthodontic blog and our social media pages on Instagram and Facebook.