You should replace your toothbrush (or the head of the toothbrush if you use an electric brush) every three months so the bristles remain up to the job. If the bristles are crumpled and bent, they aren’t cleaning properly.
Soft-bristle brushes are kinder on your teeth and protect the enamel and gums. Over brushing can cause the gums to recede and can also wear away the protective enamel.
How to brush properly
You should brush twice a day for at least two minutes. It helps if you divide your mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each area. Some electric toothbrushes come with a built-in timer to help keep you brushing long enough to do a thorough job.
When brushing, make sure you clean the inside surface of each tooth, the chewing surface and behind the teeth. Pay particular attention to the gum line. If you have any restorative work, take care to clean around them carefully.
Remember to clean your tongue. You can buy tongue scrapers that do the job, but you can use your toothbrush to clean away debris (just rinse off afterwards). This removes bacteria that forms in that debris and also reduces halitosis.
Flossing and interdental cleaning
Interdental cleaning is crucial for protecting your mouth from decay and gum disease. There are many different tools that you can buy to reach in the gaps between your teeth. Dental floss is perfectly adept at cleaning the gaps, but it can be tricky to get the knack of cleaning with it. There are floss sticks and interdental brushes available as well to help keep your teeth bacteria-free.