A few days ago, we noticed a fascinating dentistry themed debate on twitter. Taking to the micro-blogging site, Twitter user @envyteeee asked:
“Do y’all wet the toothbrush first, or put toothpaste on first?”
The innocuous question went viral and sparked a polarising online debate, with Twitter users divided into several parties over the topic: those who stick toothpaste straight onto their dry toothbrushes; those who rinse the brush under the tap beforehand; and those who apply the paste and then wet their brushes.
Fellow tweeters responded with their thoughts on the correct cleaning protocol:
“Wet the toothbrush, put toothpaste on, wet that boy again. Then brush. That’s law,” replied @darienj_5.
“Um no just put the toothpaste on THEN wet the brush,” said username @future_snack.
But when water soon gets added anyway, does a dash of water before applying toothpaste really affect the plaque-fighting abilities of a tooth-brushing session?
According to Professor Damien Walmsley of The British Dental Association, “A dry brush will increase friction with the bristles while a wet toothbrush adds moisture and for most people, makes the experience more pleasant”.
“Whatever your preference, what’s essential is that teeth should be brushed twice a day for at least two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, including last thing at night.”
Other experts state that despite toothpaste containing a small amount of water that will naturally foam the paste, wetting the brush prior to cleaning can make the experience that bit more comfortable. There is no scientific right or wrong, but if brushing your teeth is comfortable, you’re more likely to brush for the recommended time.
Dr Raha Sepehrara and her team of dentists and hygienists do have a slightly stronger opinion however. They advise against wetting the toothbrush at all, as ‘this can dilute the toothpaste and reduce its effects’.
Dr Raha remarks that if you prefer to wet the toothbrush to make the bristles softer, you should probably be using a toothbrush with softer bristles.
Many dentists also note that if you must wet the toothbrush before or after applying toothpaste, it’s better to keep the amount of water you use to a minimum. This is because they claim a sodden toothbrush and diluted toothpaste will mean that the efficiency of your brushing is reduced.
Similarly, the NHS advise not rinsing the mouth immediately after brushing as this can “wash away concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste, thus diluting it and reducing its preventative effects”. Instead, simply spit out any excess toothpaste that may be left in the mouth.
So, this begs the question – do you wet your toothbrush before putting toothpaste on it?
We’d love to hear your thoughts. And remember, for quality dental hygiene advice it’s always best to make a reservation at your regular dentist. At Ollie & Darsh we provide professional oral health education, including the best brushing and flossing techniques. Call us on 0151 65 910 65.