Are you a water-then-toothpaste person or a toothpaste-then-water person? Or are you, god forbid, a no-water-completely-dry-toothpaste-only person? There is currently a Twitter debate on when to wet your toothbrush when you brush your teeth. Yes, we are debating about toothpaste now. This is the argument we are all having, and sorry but you have to pick your side.
Twitter user @envyteeee ignited the fire with a tweet earlier this week asking the internet about their teeth brushing habits. If you’re wondering whether people even have a strong opinion on something as innocuous as brushing your teeth, the answer is...well, at least a few hundred people did. The initial tweet currently has over 220 comments about preferred toothbrush rituals. This isn’t even the first time the internet has had this debate. A similar question was posed on Reddit six years ago. The consensus there was to wet it before and after applying toothpaste.
Also, this is the internet: everyone has a strong opinion on everything. Even about something as seemingly mundane as how you brush your teeth. People would argue about, like, the order you remove eggs from a carton if someone brought it up. (Oh, that’s already a Twitter debate we’ve had? Cool, cool.)
The conversation caught on after another Twitter user responded with their prefered water/toothpaste order. According to them the order goes as such: wet the toothbrush, put on toothpaste, put water on it again, and then you can brush. “That’s law,” they said. It is decidedly so as that tweet has been liked over 300,000 times. With hundreds of responses like, “Yes, finally somebody is telling my truth.”
People are even posting videos of the “correct” way to prepare your toothbrush for brushing. The internet has some strong feelings about water temperature, if you were curious. Some swear by using hot water. Others are Team Cold Water. There are more than a few that are like, “Both but in a specific order.”
Dentist Dr. Richard Marques spoke with The Sun last year and recommended using warm, not hot, water if you’ve got sensitive teeth. Richard H. Price, a spokesman for the American Dental Association, said something similar to the New York Times in 2013, “If I can get someone to brush their teeth, I don’t care what the water temperature is, as long as they don’t scald themselves.” Price also mentioned that using water that’s too hot may soften the bristles on your toothbrush too much, making it less effective.
Actually, you don’t need to wet your toothbrush at all. Lynn Tomkins, President of the Ontario Dental Association, told The Star that wetting your toothbrush really shouldn’t be necessary. Tomkins also added that if you’re wetting it to soften the bristles, you should probably switch to a toothbrush with less firm bristles.
In fact, the habit of getting your toothbrush wet seems to be something of a cultural holdover from toothpaste of the olden days. According to Colgate, toothpaste used to be more of a dry paste that required you to mix with some sort of liquid in order to use it.
I know I dragged dry brushers earlier, but going without water or with minimal water is certainly the most eco-friendly way to brush your teeth. One of the easiest ways to live more sustainably is to watch your water habits. So, rather than leaving the faucet running while you’re brushing your teeth, make sure you turn it off. If you’ve absolutely got to get your bristles wet before you brush, maybe don’t run the faucet at full force.
If you’re concerned about having healthy teeth and a bacteria-free toothbrush, the best thing you can do is remember to change your toothbrush.