This Is How You're Brushing Your Teeth All Wrong

We still haven't mastered this daily task.

There's a debate raging on Twitter, and it might be one that you've asked yourself at least twice a day: is there any point to making your toothbrush wet before applying the toothpaste? Does it rinse bacteria and residue off of the brush before you put it in your mouth? Does it help the paste stick on better? Is it less abrasive on the gums? Or is it a completely pointless gesture that we acquired in our youth, back when we used to wet the brush just to trick our parents into thinking we brushed our teeth before bed (which never worked)?

While most people on social media advocated strongly for rinsing the toothbrush before applying the paste, it turns out that technique is all wrong.

"Mixing water into something such as mouth wash or toothpaste can cause it to become diluted," Robert Leale, a dentist in Spokane, Washington, wrote on his website. "It may lose some or most of its effect on the teeth. This can make brushing or rinsing a waste of time, energy, and money. Mixing water and toothpaste is never recommended as it could possibly lessen the effectiveness of the toothpaste."

Even more shocking, Leale recommended not gargling the toothpaste in your mouth with water afterwards, as it can cause the bacteria to swish around in your mouth instead of killing it away. Instead, you should spit out the toothpaste and then rinse your mouth with a clean cup of water, the way you do at the dentist.

Lynn Tomkins, President of the Ontario Dental Association, seconded this motion.

"I recommend not rinsing, particularly for the nighttime" Tomkins told Toronto Star. "You leave a nice film of fluoride on your teeth overnight."

She also said you "don't really need to wet your toothbrush," and if you feel that your toothbrush is too hard either, switch to a a brush that has softer bristles.

So, to summarize, here are the proper steps for ideal toothbrushing:

Step One

dog with toothbrush

Wait at least 30 minutes after you've eaten in order to avoid pushing the sugar and acids in the food you just consumed into your teeth enamel. And if you're looking to whiten your teeth, know that This Is the Safest Way to Whiten Your Teeth.

Step Two

woman brushes teeth

Brush for two minutes (or get an electric brush that has a built-in timer), brushing the chewing surfaces first, following by the side closest to the tongue, then the side closest to the roof of the mouth, then the cheek side, then the outside.

Step Three

woman rinses with glass of water

Spit the toothpaste out, grab a clean glass of water, rinse your mouth, and spit the water out. If the water is tinged with pink or red, that's a sign that it might be time for a teeth cleaning! And remember: good dental hygiene is one of the 100 Best Anti-Aging Secrets. 

Step Four

woman buys new toothbrush at store

You can rinse off the brush with hot water afterwards to get rid of any residue, but also remember it's pivotal to change your brush every 6 months! Always keep the brush in a cool, dry place to avoid bacteria.

Step Five

man flosses while looking in mirror

If you really want to make your dentist happy, make sure to floss afterwards, rinse again, and then do another light brush so that you can keep the fluoride working on your teeth overnight.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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