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How to Conserve Water Brushing Your Teeth

As the drought in California continues, San Diego suffers along with the rest of the state. We may not be facing the situation where we really don’t have enough water to bathe or even to drink, but our local reservoirs are at 37% of their capacity. This is much better than the 30% statewide, but it still means that we should be doing what we can to conserve water.

Toothbrushing is a vital part of preventive dentistry, but that doesn’t mean your oral hygiene has to be an excuse to waste water. Here’s a reminder of how to brush your teeth while saving water.

Conserve Water Tooth Brushing

Turn off the Faucet

The number one rule for conserving water while brushing teeth is that you need to turn off the faucet while you brush. Since 2014, the flow rate of newly installed bathroom faucets has been 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm). This means that if you brush for two minutes with the faucet running, you’re wasting 3 gallons each time you brush. That may not seem like too much, but if all 3.3 million people in San Diego County did that twice a day, we would waste about the entire capacity of Olivenhain Reservoir every year with toothbrushing alone.

So shut off your water while you brush, make sure everyone in your house does, too, and mention it when the topic comes up in polite conversation (yeah, we know that’s not too often!)

What about Brushing in the Shower?

Some people might think that brushing in the shower is a good way to conserve water. After all, you’re doing two things at once, using only one stream of water. There are many reasons why this might not be a good idea.

First, your showerhead is a hive of bacteria, adding significant levels of bacteria to the water. Now, it’s important to remember that your mouth is already rife with bacteria, and it hasn’t been studied whether you’ll get more bacteria on your toothbrush after leaving it in the shower, but it’s an important factor to consider.

What is known is that brushing your teeth while looking in the mirror helps you ensure you’re cleaning your teeth properly. You might think you have the routine based on the feel of the toothbrush, but the truth is that actually seeing what you’re doing really does help.

Finally, it’s unlikely that you’ll actually be saving water. After all, the shower will be running while you’re brushing. In fact, the flow rate for showerheads is higher than for faucets (2 gpm), so unless brushing in the shower makes it take less time, you’ll be wasting more water brushing in the shower than you would if you brushed at the sink.

So make sure you’re shutting off the faucet every time you brush, and don’t brush in the shower. And if you’re looking for a San Diego dentist to help take care of your dental needs, from basic cleanings to dental implants, please call (619) 299-5925 for an appointment at Strober Dental today.

By |September 16th, 2015|Preventative Dentistry|