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How Much Toothpaste Should You Use? Dentist Goes Viral for Showing How Much You Really Need While Brushing

What’s a toothpaste commercial without a pristine toothbrush and a plump swish of toothpaste across the top of the bristles? Well, get ready to have your mind blown: The amount of toothpaste we should actually be using on our teeth is about a fraction of that—at least according to one dentist on TikTok.

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Dr. Gao Jye Teh, a Malaysian dentist who’s studying at King’s College London, recently went viral on TikTok for sharing some oral health advice, and has become social media’s dental hygiene star in the process. In the TikTok video, he showed viewers—all 6 million of them—what the right amount of toothpaste looks like. For people over 3 years of age, it’s the size of a single pea. (FYI,this is also written on the toothpaste packaging—you know, the stuff nobody reads.)

Tip: You're probably using way more than what's necessary.

© Getty Images
Tip: You’re probably using way more than what’s necessary.

Dr. Gao also shared his video to Instagram, writing in the caption, “Commercials are lying to you! You don’t need to use that much toothpaste.”

Dr. Gao said that using more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste poses the greatest risk to children who haven’t yet got fully-developed adult teeth. “This is because fluoride, when ingested in large amounts, can cause a cosmetic condition known as dental fluorosis on the developing teeth,” he explained. “The cosmetic implications range from mild [discoloration] to yellow and brown stains to obvious pits in the teeth.”

Geoffrey Morris, DMD, cosmetic and restorative dentist in Boca Raton, Florida, confirmed this to Health, saying, “the recommended amount of toothpaste for adults is about the size of a pea on a soft bristle or electric toothbrush.”

As for kids under age 3, only a “smear” of toothpaste is required—about the size of a rice grain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s to ensure they don’t accidentally swallow a lot of fluoride toothpaste, which isn’t supposed to be ingested.

RELATED: The Best Whitening Toothpaste, According to Experts

Using too little toothpaste can be just as bad as using too much, according to Dr. Gao, because your teeth won’t get the fluoride’s full protective benefits. “The problem with using too little toothpaste is you may not have enough surfactant to create the bubbles that help clean, as well as enough fluoride to protect the teeth,” Dr. Morris says.

Dr. Gao also offered a handy tip: “Once you brush your teeth, you should spit out the excess and not rinse your mouth with water. This is because the fluoride in the toothpaste takes time to act on your teeth.”

If you like to use mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine, Dr. Gao recommends using one that contains fluoride at a different time from brushing, as this will increase the amount of fluoride exposure and help to remineralize your teeth. “Seek advice from your dentist to decide which type [of mouthwash] you are most suited for,” he suggested.

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President Trump’s risky behavior goes viral

President Trump’s COVID infection is causing havoc – to him and his family, numerous recent contacts, three U.S. senators now infected, the nation’s confidence and orderly processes, and our national and international security.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump's risky behavior goes viral

© getty: President Trump
President Trump’s risky behavior goes viral

We can never know for sure who is culpable. It doesn’t matter. With all the possible “what if”s and “if only”s, we must be clear that, to paraphrase James Carville, “it’s the virus.” Still, sound estimates place in the tens of thousands those whose lives our national inaction has sacrificed.


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We and many other mental health professionals and behavioral scientists have written much about the personality and resulting dangerousness of President Trump’s behavior. Pollsters have observed that even among those who support and intend to vote for Trump, many see his personality and character as substantially flawed.

His denial, false reassurances, incompetence, and hucksterism instead of sober attention to the profound challenges facing us have led to a fifth of the world’s COVID-19 deaths with just 1/24th of the world’s population and, as noted above, an enormous number of avoidable deaths. Indeed, denial and suppression of facts from the president and his team, including those providing his care, now exacerbate the political, governance and security impacts of his illness.

With the president’s illness, the cruel bite of the pandemic has turned on one who thought he might ignore it. Many have noted that pandemics respect no individual or group, including leaders in the UK and Brazil before President Trump. So it has now engulfed one who thought it might just go away, “like a miracle.”

But this too is an expression of the president’s dangerousness. The scorn for protections, wearing masks and distancing, manifest in the willful convening of enormous, maskless and crowded rallies or the mocking of former Vice President Biden for wearing a mask, have had their impacts.

Polls show a close relationship between the approval of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and individuals declining to wear masks and saying they would refuse a vaccine. In addition to those who may have been directly affected by spreader events, these all have contributed to the huge number of cases and proliferation of virus that increase opportunities for infection in all our lives, and the willful dismissal of precautions in his coterie that likely led to his own.

The cruel indifference to others, noted in countless examples over the past four years, was manifest in maskless mingling with donors in Bedminster, Thursday, even after the clear indication of the need to avoid contacts conveyed by Hope Hicks’ positive test. Persistent questions about the timeline of his exposure, knowledge that he had been exposed, positive test, and the emergence of symptoms raise even the possibility of malfeasance in his possible exposure of former Vice President Biden on Tuesday night’s debate. The ability to deny or purposely distort reality – from inaugural crowds to “it will just go away” to current obfuscation of his clinical status