Your Toothbrushing Routine Could Be Causing Serious Skin Breakouts

RealPeopleGroup via Getty Images

Yup – yet another day-to-day habit that we’re getting completely wrong.

Ever wondered why you’re getting breakouts on your chin? Well, according to a viral TikTok, it could be to do with when you brush your teeth.

In a video that has gone viral with over 2.8 million views, people are alarmed that they’ve got their skincare and teeth brushing routines in the wrong order.

If the last thing you do before going to bed or leaving the house is brush your teeth, sorry, but you’re spreading bacteria all over your face.

You should in fact be following the rule of tooth brushing first, skincare second – and when you stop to think about it, it really makes a lot of sense.


Dermatologists and dentists agree—brushing your teeth should always come before washing your face. The bad bacteria from a tooth or gum can spread to your face while brushing and cause skin irritation and breakouts. So after brushing your teeth, when you wash your mouth most of the bacteria spread from your mouth to your face will easily go away. Also, Toothpaste residue can irritate the skin. #skinhealthtips #acnetreatment #toothbrush #teeth #tooth #mouth #healt #skincareroutine #skincare #for #you #fyp

♬ original sound - 444.songss

But is the info in the now viral video correct? Does post-skincare tooth brushing really cause breakouts? We got the experts to weigh in (and our bathroom routines have now changed forever).

According to Clinical Director and Lead Dentist at Paste Dental, Dr Alan Clarke, residue from whitening toothpastes, which can be abrasive, and bacteria and food particles that get dislodged when brushing can rest on the face and cause skin irritation.

He says: “Expensive creams and lotions are stripped away with the water used when brushing or from toothpaste residue, counteracting the reasons they were bought! So be safe, brush first and then hit the shower or the facial cleansing routine!”

Whoops. But what about from a medical perspective?

Chartered chemist and founder of SOS Serum Skincare, Bruce Green, explains that: “Brushing your teeth should always come before any of your skincare steps. No matter your skin type, toothpaste residue can irritate the skin it comes into contact with. Those with pre-existing skin conditions such as acne, or those with incredibly sensitive skin should be particularly mindful. Fluoride, found in many toothpastes, can exacerbate rosacea and acne.”

According to Green, the remnants of toothpaste can also render your skincare less effective as it can essentially ‘contaminate’ your products and block their absorption into the skin.

He adds: “A lot of toothpastes also contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS). As SLS foams, it can migrate to the skin around your mouth, leading to irritation, inflammation, and dryness. This dryness can lead to a surge in oil production that results in bumps and breakouts.”

Excuse us while we give our faces another wash...