Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.

Last Updated on July 13, 2022

When & How Often Should You Replace an Electric Toothbrush?

Electric Toothbrush

Most things give up the ghost after a period of time. A new car begins to sound like a used car after a few years, and we are all familiar with the white shirt that becomes a shade of grey after several seasons.

You can expect the same pattern from your electric toothbrush. When your gleaming teeth become less than pearly white, that is your signal that your electric toothbrush is performing at less than its optimum and is crying out to be replaced.

Ideally, you should replace your electric toothbrush every three to five years. But during that period, there are things you should do to ensure it keeps giving optimal results during its lifespan.

When to Replace Your Electric Toothbrush?

You should aim to replace your electric toothbrush after having it for between three and five years. You can judge based on how its performance holds up whether you can hold out the full five years.

In the meantime, you should replace brush heads every three months.

Taking Care of Your Electric Toothbrush

Oral B ToothBrush

Replacing brush heads

The most obviously significant part of your toothbrush is, of course, the brush head, that little part that removes food debris, plaque, and griminess.

Brush heads need to be replaced every three months. If not replaced will leave you with a less than gleaming smile and in danger of getting the cavities that will cost you the time and expense of trips to the dentist. Replace brush heads religiously.

Brush storage

But between replacements, there are other steps you need to take.

For example, store your brush in an upright position where possible and never store it in a drawer or cupboard. Doing that will encourage mold and bacteria to grow, and they are enemies of healthy teeth and gums.

The brush needs to be stored in a way that allows air to circulate around the head, naturally drying out any dampness and keeping it fresh and clean for its next use.


A well-cared-for brush will look pretty, but have you ever considered just what is going on inside your brush while it is in your care?

A delicate mechanism allows you to charge your brush battery, but like all delicate mechanisms, it does not respond well to ill-treatment. And ill-treatment means not charging it correctly.

If like a great many of us, you are happy to have your brush sufficiently charged to do its job, then you may well be damaging it. Yes, you could well be channeling electricity in the wrong way to your brush, and as we all know, electricity is a powerful force.

The biggest and most harmful mistakes you can make when charging your brush are:

  • Overcharging it
  • Storing the toothbrush on charge. This will kill the battery.
  • Charging your toothbrush in short bursts of time will shorten the life of your brush

All of the above can damage the toothbrush and leave you needing a replacement long before the brush has exceeded its lifespan.

Batteries themselves have a limited lifespan and when the battery succumbs to wear and tear, it is unable to absorb the charge and may render your toothbrush unworkable.

Charging Tips:

Just as there are wrong ways of charging your toothbrush, there are also right ways. To guarantee your toothbrush lasts as long as it is supposed to, try doing the following:

  • Check if your toothbrush shuts down automatically when it is fully charged
  • If it does not shut down, then you need to keep an eye on it while charging. Overcharging will damage the brush and have you buying a new one.
  • Charge your toothbrush only when the charge is almost out.

Signs That Your Toothbrush is Dying

It won’t charge

Ill-treatment of the brush while charging will leave your brush refusing to recharge or to fully charge, and the battery should fully recharge when connected to the electricity socket.

It is becoming less effective

The signs of the brush’s waning power may also be obvious when you look in the mirror and see that your teeth are no longer gleaming. Then you have to admit that the nifty little device that gave you a whiter than white smile has to be replaced.

Cleaning Your Toothbrush and Heads

Oral B Electric Toothbrush

Your toothbrush may continue working, charging as it should do, and brushing your teeth. However, cleaning your teeth requires more care than, for example, washing your hands. When it comes to oral hygiene, remember the old phrase that cleanliness is next to godliness.

Why clean a toothbrush?

Our teeth are inside one of the most easily infected parts of our bodies. Consider the varieties of foodstuffs, both healthy and unhealthy, working their way past our teeth before traveling on to our digestive systems. We know that if one of those foodstuffs is carrying bacteria, then that bacteria can travel deeper into our systems.

But what if it is the toothbrush we bought to keep our mouths clean and healthy that is introducing bacteria to our systems?

And how comfortable would you feel using a toothbrush that was less than clean?


We have seen the necessity for keeping the brush head clean, but there are other parts of the toothbrush that can invite bacteria in as well. How often have you removed the metal part of the toothbrush handle from the head of the brush?

This is one part of the brush that requires regular cleaning if you are to keep bacteria at bay. And yes, if you get a less than pleasant odor from your toothbrush, that could be your warning sign that it is time to clean the space between the handle and the brush head.

When cleaning the toothbrush and the brush head, a little more than a rinse under running water may be necessary. Manufacturers and dentists vary in the advice they give on keeping the entire toothbrush clean. Some advice using boiling water, while others warn that this may damage the plastic components of the brush.

Others advise using a store-bought disinfectant or specific mouthwashes. But the one thing they all agree on is the necessity to clean your brush at least once a week. For you, the toothbrush owner, the best rule of thumb is to follow the advice given by the manufacturer or your dentist.

Why have a fully functioning toothbrush that is going to make you ill?

Accidental Damage

No matter how hard electric toothbrush manufacturers work at making a reliable product, they cannot be held accountable if the brush suffers an accident while traveling with its owner. Most brushes come with their own carry cases designed to protect them from damage when taken away from home. To guarantee your brush lives for the three to five years, the manufacturers promise it should be safely installed in that case while in transit.

If it breaks for any reason other than the owner’s carelessness and within the timeline of the brush’s guarantee, the manufacturer is bound by the guarantee to replace it. Unfortunately, not so if it tumbles loose in the hold of an aircraft!

What to Replace an Electric Toothbrush With?

oral b toothbrush

Naturally, when we are replacing anything, the temptation is to go for the cheaper option, which in this case is a manual toothbrush. But cheaper isn’t always the better option and may, in fact, cost you more in terms of outlay on your teeth in the long term.

Before you buy, cast your mind back to when you first decided to go electric:

  1. You possibly had more dental problems and spent longer than you wanted to in the dentist’s chair. And you knew that couldn’t go on.
  2. You probably spent money on your dental care that you would have much preferred to spend on something else.
  3. Your mouth never felt really clean. There was always that sensation of something stuck between your teeth or the feeling of plaque sneaking up behind your teeth.
  4. Sometimes you felt you had brushed too lightly, and at other times that little bit too hard. At least the electric brush with its inbuilt sensor could warn you when you weren’t really helping your teeth.
  5. You envied television broadcasters with their gleaming smiles and knew you would never muster up the courage to speak in public — at least not until your teeth were gleaming too.

And then you went electric, and week by week, your problems vanished. You could once again laugh and joke with the best of them.

True, the brush was expensive the day you bought it, but you reckon you have already saved a lot of money by having fewer dental bills, so it was a win-win situation. There really is no decision to be made about which brush to buy next!

So How Long Should You Expect Your Electric Toothbrush to Last?

Three to five years is the general consensus on how long an electric toothbrush should last. But to recap, there are so many factors that can influence that.

  • The care you take of it
  • How you store it
  • How you charge it
  • How clean you keep it
  • Do you use the carry case

But you can be guaranteed one thing. It will die eventually and you will be in search of a new toothbrush.

Rate this post