[Cultural quirks] Brushing your teeth in school

hehe I’m typing this in my syntax class now. oops I’m a bad student.

I have been meaning to blog about this for ages: brushing your teeth after meals / in the morning etc in school.

I’m very curious about how common is it to do so in your country / school. I started to develop this habit while I was working part time in a fund management company back in Singapore. Some of my colleagues did it, and I picked up the habit. It’s gross to not brush your teeth for the entire day (personal opinion!). There were people who do not have the habit but they do not comment on those that did it – which is totally fine by me.

Back in university in Singapore, I do that sometimes and I hate it when people give me the incredulous look and one of my classmates actually went ‘omg you didn’t brush your teeth in the morning??!!!’ I gave her the -.- look and ignored her. Ridiculous people. But it’s true that people will stare at you weirdly in the restrooms if you do that. Makes me a little self conscious but I can’t be bothered with them.

Very very rarely will I meet any girl who does that, and I can almost safely say that no guy will do that in Singapore.

That’s why I’m so happy to be in Korea. It’s super common to see girls brushing their teeth in the toilets and no one will say anything at all. I’ve seen girls who will ask their friends if they want to go brush teeth together. It’s normal to take out your dental care set and there’s no need to hide what you are doing.

It’s funny because Koreans go one step even further and they have no problems sticking the toothbrush in their mouth and start brushing even when they are outside the toilets O.o hahaha I won’t really do that but I don’t judge them. xD

It’s common for guys to do that too! Me likes. But I have a shrewd feeling that guys do it because they don’t want to smell of cigarettes LOL.

But I still get annoying comments from the international students here. The other day I was in the toilet brushing when my classmate from China came in and exclaimed really loudly ‘OMG SHANNA. since when have you develop this habit like the Koreans?!!’. -.- I was in a ‘do not disturb’ mood that day and I just ignored her oops.

I’m really curious on what you guys think about this issue!! Feel free to voice your opinions (and disagree with me!).


  1. Reply

    My colleagues at the workplace where I work part time does that too . all of them does it , except for the Korean guy who’s working there ; I thought he’ll do that too but oh wells .
    I always see them do it but I didn’t exactly pick up that habit since I don’t have a table for myself to put my stuffs and all so i didn’t bother in the end :X

    I think that this kind of practice is kinda good , just that majority from the rest of the world doesn’t have that habit and thinks that its weird and ridiculous when they see others do this .

    1. Reply

      haha! yeah most people do not have this habit. I have people staring directly and whispering to each other when they see me do it in Singapore. totally ridiculous. the kind of reactions i’m getting

  2. Reply

    LOL I do the same thing! Or did it while I was in school! For me is the most hygienic thing to do!!! ^^ keep it up!!!

    1. Reply

      same here! *high 5*

  3. Reply

    Haha! I’ve seen people in Hong Kong brush their teeth in the middle of the day in bathrooms too but I’ve never thought it strange! It’s just personal hygiene right? (:

    It may be more common in Singapore than you think… but yeah, probably not in school. Back when I was interning, I had colleagues who did it after meals too, especially if they meet clients regularly. So I guess people who are working would be more conscious about maintaining this habit. (: You’re not alone lol!

    1. Reply

      yeah it’s definitely more common in workplaces than in schools. xD i love the brushing culture here in korea xD

  4. Reply

    Judging by how many women smoke at my university, then I’d say they were just as likely as the guys to be brushing their teeth because of smoking. Maybe even more so, seeing as women tend to be more self-conscious about that sort of thing, and because many older male professors disapprove of women smoking (let alone guys off campus).

    As for numbers, just as many men & women here brush in the toilets. What really gets me though, is how those same guys can be so fastidious about that, yet not bother to wash their hands after using the toilet. Not that, say, British men or women are any better (by coincidence, I’ve just been tweeting about that this week), but then they’re not brushing their teeth after every meal!

    1. Reply

      HAHA! i haven’t thought of things from that perspective! i guess it’s true, women smoke too much in Korea!!

  5. Reply

    well, i don’t do it but i think that’s a very healthy thing to do. if it weren’t so uncommon in Malaysia, I WOULD DO IT!!

  6. Reply

    yay! i’m all for oral hygiene~ I’m all for brushing though i’ve nv seen ppl do that before.. so i think id find it weird if i see sum1 just brushing their teeth in school/workplace. Tho i carry around dental floss most of the time 🙂 🙂

  7. Reply

    in the US, it’s not very common. i’ve seen a couple girls brush at school. not a big deal though. most of the girls who brush usually have braces or somethign of that sort. honestly, people shouldn’t be giving weird looks, it just means your clean !(=

  8. Reply

    LOL..I think your classmates in Singapore who gave u the weird stares in the Ladies will eventually come to terms with the fact that it’s a common practice here in sg to brush your teeth after lunch in the workplace ^^

    Wow, I didnt know that it’s so common in schools in Korea. I feel like I’m always learning something new from reading your blog ^^ 재미있당

    1. Reply

      thanks Nora! ^^ it’s so common there’s almost always someone brushing in the toilet!

  9. Reply

    In Singapore, I brush and floss at most twice during the day. There’s even a mini mouth rinse in my bag. Picked up the habit while I had my braces on in secondary school. It’s not that uncommon, especially the flossing.

    1. Reply

      It seems like people who have had braces are more conscious ^^

  10. Reply

    Another USian saying it’s uncommon here. It’s pretty much brush in the morning and brush at night though three times a day is sometimes recommended. If I’m home for lunch I’ll brush sometimes after a couple hours have gone by from lunch. Just need to be careful about brushing too much as that can wear down your enamel! I also remember reading awhile back it’s not good to brush immediately after eating as it can also cause long term damage too.

    1. Reply

      ahhh~ yeah that’s true! flossing is important though xD

  11. Reply

    i totally can feel u!! Can’t understand how people can stand the smell in their mouth after eating eg chicken rice? and i always feel fresh after brush! it helps me alot at work hahahaha…
    Oh, i guess your darlies ran out already? hehehehe… i should have packed mini darlie for u too! i have that and its super convenient! 😀

    1. Reply

      heehee my mini darlie ran out xD but im kinda happy with my new Korean toothpaste LOL! can’t wait to meet up again in Singapore!

  12. Reply


    A Korean man brushing his teeth..this one shld be popular enuff. lol

    1. Reply

      HAHA!!! totally awesome

  13. Reply

    XD XD I watched a video about teeth brushing on the eatyourkimchi.com blog and was quite amused.

    Teeth brushing is not my no.1 favourite activity so I don’t have a tendency to brush after every meal (chewing gum is my option), but I definitely wouldn’t think that someone is weird that they brush their teeth at work/school etc. Actually I prefer people who would be obsessive about teeth brushing. I think the reason is quite self-explanatory, especially since I once discovered horrifying facts about someone’s hygiene…. someone I knew.

  14. Reply

    I liked your “condensed” posts hahaha This post is kinda old and I probably wouldn’t find it if it wasn’t because of the condensed post 😀

    Here in Brazil on school it wasn’t soo common (but it wasn’t weird), but in university is very common 😀 Or even in others environments (even like shopping centers) I don’t think people would look in a weird way at you.
    It’s happened many times that I said to a friend “I’m gonna go brush my teeth” and she was “oh, wait for me!” ㅋㅋㅋ

    But I don’t think people here do this mostly because of cigarettes (I mean, if they smoke, of course). I think it’s really more about…the food in your teeth hahaha

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