By John Salak –
There are two things that almost everyone seems to like—the relaxing benefits of a nice hot shower and saving time. It is little wonder that an increasing number of Americans are brushing their teeth while simultaneously taking a hot shower to capture both benefits. Approximately four percent of Americans scrub their pearly whites daily in the shower.
Unfortunately, what may feel and seem like a good idea is not. It creates a health risk, and the practice hurts the environment because it wastes water. It is costly because of the added water usage and the likelihood that toothbrushes left in showers get replaced more often than brushes left by sinks.
Shower brushing is not a direct threat to a person’s teeth, although it makes toothbrushes less effective over time because their bristles soften. The greater risk is that it exposes people to germs, Payal Bhalla, a British dentist, recently told The Mirror.
“Sharing the same water source for brushing your teeth and cleaning your body can lead to the transfer of germs from other parts of your body to your mouth. It could then compromise your immune system and lead to unwanted illness,” she explained. “The showerhead can harbor bacteria, and when you brush your teeth under the showerhead, you may be exposing your toothbrush to those bacteria, again increasing your likelihood of illness.”
The American Dental Association also warns against the practice because the moisture in the shower environment lends itself to bacteria growth that can show up on toothbrushes left in showers.
Besides this, people aren’t likely to save time because it takes longer to get everything done this way, the association adds. The practice may also mean that people aren’t brushing their teeth properly or as long as needed because they are not standing in front of a mirror watching what they are doing.
“You need to be in front of the mirror to watch and not just feel where you are brushing. The toothbrush needs to be angled properly and reach every tooth; without a mirror, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve the careful brushing you need,” The Buzz added.
Despite the growing number of people brushing teeth in the shower, there appears to be a consensus that the practice is at least ineffective and at most harmful.
The dental associate, however, notes there is no debate on another brushing venue, even though some do it.
“There’s one place we recommend never brushing: in the car, like 0.2 percent of Americans. Not only can it affect teeth cleanliness, but it also puts you and others in danger,” the group noted.