Recently, I discovered a way to make my toothbrush last several times longer than usual. I think the recommended retirement age for a toothbrush is 3 months, but my current brush is going on 4 months and looks almost new. Yes, the end is nowhere in sight for this toothbrush!
I have found two things that help achieve a longevous toothbrush.
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Step 1: Step the First:
1) Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly (for about ten seconds) after brushing.
Step 2: Step the Secondest:
2) Hold your toothbrush with only two fingers in a light grip.
Step 3: Three-step
3) Use regular Crest toothpaste. (Actually, I think you can use any type of toothpaste, but some kinds (like Crest Total Care) require extra, extra long rinsing.
Step 4: How I Discovered This Method
I discovered these longevity techniques by accident about seven months ago. That's when I decided I didn't like the natural buildup of tooth-pasty residue on my toothbrush handles. To combat that, I started rinsing it much longer after brushing. This not only kept the residue away, but I noticed the bristles stayed together (meaning they didn't splay outwards) for much, much longer! Then I discoverd the second important aspect of toothbrush longevity: light pressure. After my wife borrowed my toothbrush for a week and scrubbed the enamel off her teeth, my toothbrush looked completely worn out. I hadn't realized pressure was important before, because I was already brushing lightly (after an oral hygenist chastised me for brushing too hard, resulting in my early onset receding gumlines). So brush lightly!
When visiting my in-laws, I used their toothpaste, a "total care" kind that does tartar control amongst other things. It turned out that my toothbrush was stiffening up because even rinsing for 10+ seconds it rinsed out in chunks. So use a regular toothpaste (I use Crest because it's the cheapest).
Of course there's always the ultimate toothbrush saving technique: Don't brush! :)
Step 5: Update! Lasts for Years
Update! I have now been using this same toothbrush for over two years! There is still no end in sight!
I just soak it in alcohol or hydrogen peroxide (8%) overnight every few months to disinfect.
I did have to cut off a bristle that decided to poke itself out sideways once. Other than that, this thing is astonishing like-new.
I'm now starting to wonder if the main factor is that this toothbrush is a generic brand, hence the company hasn't performed any "factory planned obsolescence research."
Whatever, I'm still saving myself $1 every three months. (Yay, one more buck for me.)