Surprisingly, toothbrushes do not last forever! But how long do they last and how often should you change them?

The standard advice is every three to four months – that includes the heads for electric toothbrushes.

But results for Norway show that on average people kept their toothbrush for more than 5 months.

Survey results in the UK suggest that on average women follow the three month rule, but men keep their toothbrushes for twice as long. What a shock!

Locally, it seems about 40 percent of Australians keep their toothbrushes for longer than three months.

These results suggest many of us only turf the brush when we notice its on it’s on its last bristle.

Does any of this really matter? It appears so. Bristles get tired and fall over until they’re  not much use and toothbrushes collect bacteria. That leads to plaque and plaque is the enemy of good oral hygiene. It causes infections and tooth decay.

It turns out that brushing your teeth prevents plaque. Who would have thought!

Sadly, you’re  about 50 percent more likely to get tooth decay if you don’t clean your teeth at least daily, and this is particularly so for children.

In worse case scenarios tooth extraction is one of the most common reasons children end up in hospital for a general anaesthetic. So brushing twice a day with a fluoride tooth paste along with a sensible diet that minimises sugar is a good idea.

Swishing your toothbrush around in mouth wash after rinsing it is an easy way of keeping it clean until you toss it out when the bristles lose their oomph at 3-4 months.

And then there is flossing and interdental brushing of course. But that’s another story.