Should you brush your teeth in the shower?

Did you know that 4 percent of Americans brush their teeth in the shower?1 Take a minute to learn if brushing as you bathe is safe for your smile.

Proponents of brushing in the shower say it’s not as messy, which may be true on a person-to-person basis. They also often claim it saves water and time, reasoning brushing while rinsing off or waiting for conditioner to set is more efficient. But if brushing causes you to stay in the shower longer, you may actually be using more water than if you brushed at the sink. Really want to save water? Brush at the sink and turn off the faucet. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that you can save up to four gallons of water if you turn off the tap while brushing.

There are some additional downsides to brushing in the shower, though. Because the moist shower environment lends itself to bacteria growth, the American Dental Association warns against leaving your toothbrush in the shower when you’re finished. Another possible concern is the noise of the running water in the shower and other distractions that could draw your attention away from the task at hand.

It’s also easier to do a thorough job of brushing – and flossing – by looking in a mirror. Without caring for your teeth in front of a mirror, you might forget to brush at a 45-degree angle, for the full two minutes or to floss altogether. This can be remedied by taking particular care to brush properly in either setting – and always remembering to floss at least once per day (preferably not in the shower).

Whether you brush at the sink or in the shower, the most important thing is that you brush twice a day for two minutes at a time using fluoride toothpaste. That said, there’s one place we recommend never brushing: in the car, like 0.2 percent of Americans.1 Not only can it affect teeth cleanliness, but it also puts you and others in danger. 

1Delta Dental 2014 Oral Health and Well-Being Survey