Sometimes it feels like such a chore to brush your teeth that you end up cleaning your teeth in the shower. Might as well kill two birds with one stone right?
Although this might seem like the best option it might be the most hygienic one. Brushing your teeth in the shower may not necessarily be bad for your teeth, but it can lead to other issues.
Payal Bhalla, Lead Dentist and Clinical Director of Quest Dental shares some reasons why brushing your teeth in the shower might not be the best idea.
Why shouldn’t we brush our teeth in the shower?
Hot water in the shower can cause the bristles of your toothbrush to soften, which in turn can make it less effective when cleaning your teeth.
Bhalla says: “Furthermore, it is recommended by dental experts to use an electric toothbrush for a more thorough clean, and whilst most electric toothbrushes are waterproof, I wouldn’t recommend submerging them in water as it could damage the mechanism and bristles.”
Germs may transfer from other parts of your body when you share the same water source when brushing your teeth and cleaning your body, which could compromise your immune system and lead to unwanted illness.
“The showerhead can harbour bacteria, and when you brush your teeth under the showerhead, you may be exposing your toothbrush to those bacteria, again increasing your likelihood of illness,” she explains.
Sharing a shower with someone else can also increase the risk of cross-contamination: “Sharing a toothbrush or exposing your toothbrush to someone else’s bacteria can lead to the spread of germs.”
“Water and toothpaste can make the shower floor slippery, which can increase the risk of falls and injuries.”
Can I leave my toothbrush in the shower?
Leaving your toothbrush in the shower can create an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. It can expose your toothbrush to bacteria that may be present in the shower.
Bhalla says: “Bacteria can build up on your toothbrush and potentially lead to oral health issues. Furthermore, If you share a shower with others, leaving your toothbrush in the shower can increase the risk of cross-contamination of germs.”
Your toothbrush can be exposed to chemicals used in your shower or body wash which can be harmful if ingested.
“It is recommended to store your toothbrush in a dry, clean place and away from potential sources of contamination, such as the toilet or sink,” Bhalla adds.
“Additionally, it’s best to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed or worn.”
But doesn’t brushing your teeth in the shower save water?
You may feel that brushing your teeth in the shower is saving water but in reality it’s not the most effective way to conserve water. You might actually end up using more water.
“For example, if you leave the water running while you brush your teeth, you may waste a significant amount of water.
“On the other hand, if you turn off the water while you brush your teeth in the shower, you may end up using less water than you would at the sink,” Bhalla explains.
“However, you would still be using the same amount of water to take your shower, which could offset any water savings from brushing your
teeth in the shower,” she adds.
Turning off the faucet while you brush at the sink is a more effective way to save water.
Bhalla says: “This simple habit can save a significant amount of water over time, and it doesn’t require any additional water usage from taking a shower. Additionally, fixing any leaks in your home can also help reduce water waste.”
What can I do whilst brushing my teeth in the morning to be more time effective?
Bhalla says “there are several things you can do while brushing your teeth in the morning to make the most of your time:
- Stretch: Use the time while you brush your teeth to stretch your arms, legs, neck, and back. This will help you start the day feeling more energised and alert
- Listen to Music or Podcasts: If you have a smart speaker in your bathroom or a phone holder, you can use the time to catch up on your favourite podcasts, and audiobooks or listen to music.
- Plan your day: Use the time to mentally plan your day ahead. Think about your goals for the day, what you need to get done, and how you can prioritise your tasks.
- Meditate: Brushing your teeth can also be a good time to practise mindfulness and meditation. Focus on your breath and try to clear your mind.
- Practice good posture: Stand up straight and engage your core while you brush your teeth. This can help improve your posture and prevent back pain
- Multitask: Do some light chores like putting away dishes, folding laundry, or wiping down countertops while you brush your teeth.”