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Is It Gross To Brush Your Teeth in the Shower? An Investigation

If you’re a multitasker or just always running late like me, you probably find yourself cutting corners in your morning routine like using a moisturizer that already has SPF in it, grabbing breakfast to go, or even brushing your teeth in the shower. 

Well, while an SPF moisturizer and a Poptart aren’t going to really set you back that much in the grand scheme of things (I like to think of Poptarts as a food group), you might want to take a second before bringing your toothbrush into the shower with you. 

When it comes down to it, brushing your teeth in the shower is gross — and not for the reason you might think. It’s not so much about the potential spit-and-toothpaste combo dripping from your mouth to your skin (that’s what washing your body in the shower is for!), but rather the shower itself. Without knowing it, you’re exposing your toothbrush and, as a consequence, your mouth to a shitload of bacteria. As Dr. Amber Bonnaig, DDS, Dental Director of DentaQuest Georgia, tells Betches, “When it comes to brushing your teeth in the shower, there are more downsides than brushing at the sink.”

woman brushing teeth
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To put it simply, Dr. Bonnaig explains, “The moist shower environment lends itself to bacteria growth.” So when you’re right in the middle of that moist environment with your mouth all open and your toothbrush flapping about, you’re not only inviting extra bacteria to jump right into your mouth but also to stay onto your toothbrush. That’s why the American Dental Association especially warns against leaving your toothbrush in the shower when you’re finished if you do choose to brush in the shower — “because it is an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive,” Dr. Bonnaig says. 

But it’s not just the bacteria that make brushing in the shower kind of counterproductive. Unless you’re obsessed with yourself like I am, odds are you don’t have a mirror pointed directly at your shower, so you can’t watch yourself as you brush your teeth. And as Dr. Bonnaig explains, it’s easier to do a thorough job of brushing by looking in a mirror. 

“When caring for your teeth in the shower, you might forget to brush using the proper technique, to brush for a full two minutes, or to floss altogether,” she says. 

If all of this has sent you into a spiral about what other habits you have that may lead to a bacteria infestation, let’s put the toothbrush back in the bathroom and take a breather. 

“The best thing you can do is make sure the bathroom area is as dry as possible to prevent a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive,” Dr. Bonnaig says. 

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.