Brushing our teeth every day seems like a pretty simple task, but it turns out most of us are probably using way too much toothpaste. Dr. Gao Jye Teh, a dentist based in Malaysia, has debunked everything we thought we knew about toothpaste ratios in a short clip on his social media pages.
Apparently, we can blame toothpaste commercials for misleading us with the large swishes of products they usually display in their ads.
Instead, we should be using no more than a petite pea-sized amount. Take a look to see Dr. Gao explain:
If you’re like the more than six million viewers who have watched this mind-blowing clip on Dr. Gao’s Instagram and TikTok pages, you are probably flashing back to the much heftier amount of toothpaste you put on your brush just this morning. Whoops.
For adults, regularly overdoing it with our toothpaste likely isn’t causing damage to anything other than our wallets as we replace the tube more often than necessary. However, there is a slight chance we can damage our enamel with excess toothpaste, especially if we’re a little too aggressive with our brushing. Plus, having too much fluoride in our systems can put a drain on our thyroid and cause weight gain, brain fog, and more.
Using too much toothpaste is a bigger concern for younger brushers — specifically kids under the age of eight who are still developing their adult teeth in their gums. According to the American Dental Association, it can lead to something called dental fluorosis.
Children have more trouble processing extra fluoride in their bodies, which can result in white lines or streaks showing up on their adult teeth as they grow. The condition won’t harm the overall health of their teeth, but can be unsightly and require pricey whitening treatments or veneers to create a more uniform appearance.
On the other side of the coin, Dr. Gao claims that we shouldn’t rinse our mouth out with water after brushing because fluoride takes time to work. Immediately swishing the toothpaste away defeats the point of having the fluoride in there at all. He recommends just spitting out whatever you’ve lathered up while brushing and then going about your business.
Young or old, it’s clear we should all be a bit more careful with our toothpaste technique.