September 23, 2013
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
What You Need to Know About Dental Health Care Products
Establishing a routine is important when practicing good oral hygiene. A key
part of a good oral hygiene routine is to be aware of how often dental health
care products need to be replaced.
“It is important to replace your dental hygiene products so you continue to
use products that are effective and in the best working condition,” says
Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) member Dr. Tamara Brady.
The following are general guidelines on some of the most common products and
their shelf life:
- Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months, as well as after
experiencing a cold or the flu. A toothbrush used only for travel should be
replaced yearly, as bacteria will populate the bristles as it sits in a travel
- Brush heads of mechanical/rechargeable toothbrushes should be replaced every
- The motor of battery powered toothbrushes will wear out over time and the
toothbrush loses effectiveness. It would be wise to replace these toothbrushes
(the power source and the rechargeable handle) every two to three years.
Technology also will change over time and better battery powered units will
enter the market every year.
- Keep an eye on expiration dates of toothpastes and mouth rinses. They also
lose effectiveness once the expiration date has passed.
- Disposable items¬ such as floss, floss threaders, pre-pasted toothbrushes
(typically found in dental offices for patients to use prior to their
appointment), interdental picks or brushes are to only be used once and disposed
- Proxy brushes that remain straight, both bristles and wire, should be used
for a short time period only. When used gently, proxy brushes may hold up for
three to four days. Handles for the replaceable heads are fine to keep as long
as they are holding the bristle head in place.
- Waterpiks, a home care device used to remove plaque and food debris between
teeth and below the gum line, carry a three year warranty.
PDA encourages you to shop wisely and purchase dental health care products
with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal of
Acceptance, which is a registered certification mark, is awarded after a product
is tested and meets ADA guidelines and standards. The Seal assures consumers
that the manufacturer’s claims are true and the product produces the intended
As important as replacing your products is to the practice of good oral
hygiene, where you store your dental health care products is just as essential
in maintaining effectiveness.
Dr. Brady suggests storing your products in a cabinet or vanity that closes.
If this is not possible, then keeping the products at least five feet from the
toilet, on a counter top, will prevent contamination from a flushed toilet.
Keeping products in a dry area reduces the risk of bacterial contamination. You
want all of your toothbrushes and dental piks to dry completely between
Practicing these guidelines will allow you to maintain the best oral health
and limit the number of possible dental problems from occurring. Always consult
with your PDA dentist if you have any questions or concerns regarding your oral
hygiene routine and the dental health care products you use.
About the Pennsylvania Dental Association
1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately
6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association
(ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA’s
mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of
dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients.
PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. Learn more about PDA.