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Why You Should Not Be Brushing Your Teeth in the Shower

Brushing our teeth is one of the essential daily routines we all follow to maintain good oral hygiene. While some of us prefer to brush our teeth in the morning before taking a shower, others choose to multitask and brush their teeth in the shower. And while it may seem like a time-efficient way to keep our pearly whites clean, dental professionals across North America have raised concerns about the risks involved in brushing teeth in the shower. 

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why dentists do not recommend brushing our teeth in the shower and what precautions we can take to avoid the risks.

High Temperatures Changing Toothbrush Bristles

Dr. Parul Dua Makkar, the owner of PDM Family Dental in Jericho, New York, and a qualified dental surgeon has cautioned that exposing toothbrushes to high temperatures and humidity could result in weakened bristles, reducing their effectiveness. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that toothbrushes be replaced every three to four months, although this may need to be done sooner if the bristles appear worn out.

Bacteria Transfer

Another reason to avoid brushing your teeth in the shower involves hygiene. Toronto-based cosmetic and restorative dentist Dr. Arun Narang, who is also the CEO at Dr. Arun Narang & Associates Smile by Design, has warned that individuals who choose to brush their teeth in the shower increase their chances of harmful cross-contamination.

Showers and tubs are excellent environments for bacterial growth due to their constant warmth and wetness. On top of that, they are also often shared with other family members. Thus, placing a toothbrush near a shower wall can transfer bacteria from the surface to the brush bristles, which can then be transferred to you on your next brushing, making it a risky practice.

On the other hand, placing your toothbrush on the sink does not raise the same concerns. That’s because the area will have more time to dry between uses. Plus, the sink doesn’t produce the same amount of steam that a shower does, avoiding further dampness.

Increased Chance of Falls

Finally, there is also the risk of falling. According to some dental professionals, using tooth-cleaning products in the shower may increase your chance of accidentally slipping and falling on the slick surface. Although, one can argue that the same can be said about other slick bathing products such as shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and body washes. But the real danger comes in the form of oil-based mouthwashes.

According to Fatima Khan, doctor of dental medicine at Altus Dental in Houston, the risk of accidentally slipping and falling in the shower is further increased with the use of oil-based mouthwashes. That’s because, unlike water-based products, the slippery residue from the oil doesn’t simply go away when you wash it with water. So, it’s best to proceed with caution.

Precautions to Take If You Can’t Give Up In-Shower Toothbrushing

While dental professionals do not recommend in-shower toothbrushing, there are still some precautions you can take if you are unwilling to give up your shower brushing habit. According to Amber Bonnaig, Dental Director of DentaQuest Georgia and a certified doctor of dental surgery, the most crucial factor to consider is toothbrush storage.

Bonnaig recommends storing your toothbrush outside the shower. This helps prevent bacteria growth and cross-contamination. She also emphasizes the importance of brushing for two minutes at least twice a day to ensure a healthy mouth.

Final Thoughts

Brushing teeth in the shower may seem like a convenient way to multitask, but it comes with risks. Dental professionals warn that high temperatures can weaken toothbrush bristles, bacteria can transfer from the shower to the toothbrush, and there is an increased chance of falls. While it is best to avoid in-shower toothbrushing altogether, storing the toothbrush outside of the shower can reduce the risk of bacterial transfer. And no matter where you brush your teeth, you should always remember to brush twice a day for two minutes to maintain good oral hygiene.

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