I love this cartoon of a woman brushing her teeth with a cup of hot tea (New York Times, April 29, 2013). The question is: “why don’t we use hot water to brush our teeth?” I have to confess that I have never asked myself this question, nor has anyone ever asked it of me. But someone did think to ask it of the Times‘ C. Claiborne Ray. He, in turn, contacted the American Dental Association.
Their spokesperson, searching for an answer, offered that hot water might soften toothbrush bristles, rendering them less effective. But where is the study that shows this? The spokesperson also suggested that hot water that sits in a hot water tank may harbor harmful chemicals. But in the end he contradicted himself in recommending that hot water be used to rinse the brush after brushing. The bottom line: brush and floss carefully – regardless of the water temperature – and visit the dentist regularly!