Ask LH: What Else Can I Do While Brushing My Teeth?

Ask LH: What Else Can I Do While Brushing My Teeth?
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Dear Lifehacker, I’m always looking to trim a few more minutes off my morning routine. Is it really necessary for me to brush my teeth for two minutes, and if so, do you have any suggestions to make the time more productive? Thanks, Brush Rush

Tooth brushing picture from Shutterstock

Dear BR,

First question: absolutely, yes. Thoroughly cleaning your teeth is a process that takes time. A superficial swipe won’t cut it. The Australian Dental Association recommends two to three minutes, so don’t skimp.

Oral health is a worthwhile goal on its own, but if you want to get more out of the time, there are options:

  • This set of five exercises you can perform while brushing your teeth will improve your fitness.
  • Change the hand you use while brushing as a means to build your willpower.
  • Alternatively, use the other hand for some bathroom tidying. (I sometimes clean the mirror while brushing my teeth.) You can even extend this to other rooms — you need the sink at the end of the process, but not while you’re actually cleaning.
  • Use that time to brainstorm. Sometimes our best ideas come when we’re involved in other activities.

If readers have other activities that fit well with brushing your teeth, we’d love to hear them in the comments.


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  • I use the time while I’m brushing my teeth to read through RSS feeds on my phone and bookmark ones that I want to read on the train.

  • I love the picture for this post.

    I wish I could be made that happy by applying toothpaste to a toothbrush.

    • I was thinking this. I mean have we completely lost the ability to extrapolate, experiment and use trial-and-error to determine things for ourselves? Do we simply shoot off questions into the internet and let someone else do the thinking? I expect to see a reader question like this in the near future:

      Dear Lifehacker,
      I have got my inhaling of oxygen down pat, but I’m not sure what comes next. Can you offer suggestions?
      Blue In The Face

  • The mindfulness option: be present to what you are doing. Relax into the present moment and focus on brushing your teeth.

  • I like to spread toothpaste on my toast, that way I can brush my teeth and eat breakfast at the same time.

  • Squats.

    Squats are your go to, multitasking exercise. Brushing your teeth? Do some squats. No sitting room on the train? Do some squats. Struggling to force that turd out? Squat it out. Your girlfriend taking too long to climax in the sack? Pick her up and squat her.

  • You could brush your teeth, are we really that time poor we can’t take 2 minutes out just to clean our teeth?

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