Every once in a while someone dares to ask a question that you may not want the answer to. Questions regarding how often we should change out our dish sponges, wash our sheets, bleach our shower curtains, floss, clean out our ears or our air filters all point to answers that might make us feel like pretty disgusting human beings. But, regardless of how often you get your carpets cleaned or use your Q-tips, we all have our own cleaning or hygiene habits that could or could not be considered “gross”. The habit that we’ll be exploring in this article is the act of brushing your teeth in the shower. Should you or should you not be killing two birds with one stone and brushing your teeth whilst you bathe? Let’s find out!

Reasoning Behind Shower-Brushing

A survey conducted in 2014 Delta Dental Survey found that at least 4% of the American population admits to brushing their teeth in the shower. That may not sound like a lot but 4% is about 15 million people, a good-sized slice of the dental hygiene population. The main question that goes out to these 15 million Americans is, “why?”. There are a few common answers to this question that actually make a lot of sense. The first answer is: it simply saves time. You have to shower, you also have to brush your teeth. Both acts involve running water. Viola. Just brush your teeth in the shower!

Many of these shower-brushers will go on to explain that this is a learned behavior from college or the military when bathrooms were communal and not exactly in convenient locations. It was much easier to brush your teeth in the shower when you had to share sinks, stalls, and vanities. It saved everyone time and aggravation when you could make your bathroom sequence a speedy one. Plus, most community bathrooms are located on one side of a building or down long corridors, so you always made the most out of one bathroom trip.

A second reason, that is also difficult to argue with, is that brushing your teeth in the shower means a cleaner bathroom sink. All of those white crusty areas around the counter that are caused by sloppy brushing and rapid rinsing? Those don’t exist when you brush in the shower! Any dried toothpaste stains get washed away during your full body rinse. Another point for the 4%! You save time and your countertops and sinks look a lot cleaner. These are highly reasonable answers to why you might choose to brush your teeth in the shower. However, the question still remains, “Is it gross to brush your teeth in the shower?”

Cases Against Brushing Your Teeth In The Shower

When you ask the experts if this is a good practice or not, the answers might surprise you. Overall, while it’s not the most disgusting thing that you could ever do, it can still be a pretty gross habit. The problem with brushing your teeth in the shower is the fact that your toothbrush is exposed to any bacteria living in your shower stall. When you take a hot bath or shower, the bacteria can be carried through the steam and into your loofa, face cloth, scrub brush, or toothbrush. In order to keep your brushes clean, they need plenty of light, oxygen, and they need to stay dry when not being used.

If you’re a brusher that leaves your toothbrush in the middle of a dark puddle in your shower throughout the day, this could be a huge problem and yes it is indeed very gross. Another potential problem with shower-brushing is the lack of a mirror. When we brush at the sink we tend to look at ourselves and our teeth and make sure that we’re not missing any spots. When we attempt to brush in the shower, we tend to rush through the process and possibly miss major areas like our gums or tongue. In addition, we don’t always shower when we need to brush and vice versa, so people who leave their toothbrushes in the shower might forget to brush before bed.

The Final Decision?

In the end, we have some good arguments on both sides of the spectrum. But if you’re still wondering if it’s gross to brush your teeth in the shower, the basic answer is: it depends. If you’re part of the 4% that refuses to use the sink, you’re not necessarily a gross person. You just need to remember to always keep your brush near a window so it gets plenty of natural light and air throughout the day. You may also want to think of picking up one of those shower mirrors as well so you can start to monitor your brushing while you’re in the shower. Just because you want to save time, doesn’t mean you need to skip a proper brushing.

At the end of the day, brushing your teeth alone is just one factor of your dental health. Regularly going to the dentist is a crucial part of keeping up with your dental health. Call your dentist today and make sure to book your bi-annual exam!